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And sometimes I do for my recreation now and then walk 
abroad, look into the world, and cannot choose but make some 
little observation. 

BURTON'S Anal, of Melancholy. 





\ 1838. 

Entered according to the act of Congress in the year 1838, by 
LEA & BLANCHARD, in the clerk's office of the District Court for 
the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. 




THE MAMMOTH CAVE, - - . . -47 


i 3867 * 






ALL persons who have visited Niagara 
(and who has not?) are aware, that the rocks 
stretching in a broken chain from Goat Isl 
and far out into the Horseshoe Fall, giving 
foundation to the bridge by which the visiter 
reaches the brink of the cataract, are desig 
nated as the Terrapin Rocks a name scarce 
worthy the dignity of their position, but ren 
dered somewhat appropriate by a resem 
blance, which fancy readily traces in them, 
to a cluster of gigantic turtles, sprawling in 
VOL. n. 2 


the torrent. They lie confusedly along the 
verge of the watery precipice, extending a 
distance of a hundred yards or more from the 
island, of which they seem to have formed 
originally a part the ruins of a jutting pro 
montory long since washed away. The 
bridge a low path of logs and planks, as is 
well known gives access to many of these 
fragments: others again may be reached 
without such assistance, from the island: and 
the adventurous spirit, tempted by the very 
wildness of the exploit, will often seek among 
them some convenient perch, where, poised 
perhaps over the tremendous gulf, with the 
flood on either side of him, shooting furiously 
by, he enjoys a spectacle of unequalled mag 
nificence in itself, and to which the feelings 
inspired by the situation add double subli 

The bridge, at its termination, projects 
several feet over the fall; and here the visiter 
may enjoy both the scene and the excitement 
of a half-fancied peril, without encountering 
the risk, which would certainly attend a 
scramble among the rocks, by any one not 
having his nervous propensities under full 
command. A fall the consequence of a 
single mis-step into a current that rather 


darts than runs, and a whirl down an abyss 
of a hundred and sixty feet perpendicular 
depth are consequences that may easily 
happen; and the thought of them is, in gene 
ral, sufficient to keep visiters on the bridge. 

Yet use doth breed a habit in a man. I do 
not think I possess any philosophic contempt 
of raging billows: and I have, especially, 
very poor and unhappy brains for looking 
down precipices. Yet there was something 
in the glory of Niagara that chased away my 
fears it may be, swallowed them up in the 
all-engrossing passion of delight; something 
in the sublime position of those naked rocks, 
too, which, when once reached, substituted 
for trembling apprehension a nobler feeling 
a feeling as of enthronement, and rule, and 
power over the majestic torrent. 

One day, while sitting upon one of these 
grim thrones, speculating, after the true 
motley-manner, upon the ever-falling flood, 
in which fancy saw represented the river of 
human life, with the cataract of death, over 
which it was eternally falling, and wondering 
what difference it made to the drop pitching 
down the steep, whether rocks had vexed, or 
smoother channels lulled it into security, on 
the way; my attention was attracted to a 


stranger, whom I had previously noticed on 
the bridge, and who, besides myself, was the 
only living creature at that moment to be 
seen on, or near, the fall. He stood grasp 
ing the rail of the bridge, pale, agitated, and 
eyeing myself, as I soon found, with a look 
that I interpreted into a call for assistance 
a call which terror, sickness, or some un 
known cause, I supposed, prevented his mak 
ing by word of mouth. 

I left my rock, which was only rendered 
temporarily accessible, in consequence of a 
huge log having lodged against it, as well as 
against another nearer the bridge, forming a 
stepping-tree that the first swell of the flood 
must wash away, and hurried to the stran 
ger's assistance, without, however, having 
any very clear idea what ailed him. As I 
stepped upon the bridge, he seized me by the 
hand, and with the fervent ejaculation, 
" Heaven be praised!" hurried me up to his 
side, pretty much with the air of one who, in 
mortal affright himself, has just snatched 
another out of imminent danger. " Heaven 
be praised!" he cried; " I was frightened for 
you; or, rather, I I " Here he became 
confused, as if awaking from a dream " I 
was frightened for myself!" 


All this was very mysterious and incom 
prehensible to me; which my countenance 
showing, the gentleman for indeed he was 
a man both of good appearance and manners 
exclaimed, " I beg your pardon: I believe 
I have been acting like a fool, and talking 
like one. But the appearance of a human 
being sitting on that rock, unmanned me: I 
thought it was myself, and and . In short, 
sir, I scarce know what I am saying. You 
seem amazed at my trepidation. Yet I can 
tell you of an adventure on that rock, which 
will excuse my weakness. Yes that is, if 
you will but walk with me to some secure 
place -to the island; for, I freely admit, my 
thoughts are here too much disordered." 

My curiosity being raised, and somewhat 
of an interest excited in the stranger, whose 
years, for he was in the prime of life, his tall 
and robust frame, and manly countenance, 
seemed inconsistent with the weakness of 
fear, I readily attended him to the island. 
His agitation decreased, as we approached it; 
and, by and by, when we had plunged amid 
its sweet bowers, walking towards its upper 
borders, whither he begged me to accompany 
him, it vanished so entirely, that he was able 
like myself, to note and admire the number- 


less beauties, which make almost an elysium 
of this fairy island. 

Was there ever, indeed, a spot so lovely 
as Goat Island ? Couched on the breast of 
the fall, surrounded by the mighty floods, that 
go rushing by with the velocity, and ten times 
the power and fury, of the wind a very hur 
ricane of waters; lashed, beaten, worried, 
perpetually devoured by them; it lies amid 
the roar and convulsion, its little islets around 
it, green, lovely, and peaceful, an Eden on 
the face of chaos. Hid in its groves of beech 
and maple, of larch and hemlock, oak, linden 
and tuliptree; in its peeping glades, embower 
ed with vines and ivies, and towering sumachs 
that cluster rich and red as Persian roses all 
around; the raspberry hanging from the bush, 
the strawberry and the bluebell glimmering 
together on the ground; the bee and the but 
terfly, the grasshopper and the humming-bird 
pursuing their pretty tasks all around; the 
sparrow arid the mocking bird singing aloft; 
the dove cooing, the woodpecker tapping, in 
the shade; you might here dream away an 
anchoritish existence, scarce conscious of 
the proximity of the cataract, whose voice 
comes to your ear, a softened murmur, that 
seems only the hum of other birds and insects 


a little further off. A step brings you to its 
borders, and here you look over a wall of tor 
rent to the world, from which you are yet 
sundered far enough to satisfy even the com 
plaining Timon. Here you may muse and 
moralize over " man, that quintessence of 
dust," and yet indulge the yearning to be near 
him of which no misanthrope can wholly 
divest himself; here, in your island, your 

desert inaccessible, 
Under the shade of melancholy boughs, 

you may rail at the monster, without being 
exasperated by, or entirely banished from, his 

Following my new friend through the love 
ly walks of the island, and still keeping on 
its western borders, we reached a charming 
nook, where a cluster of several rocky and 
wooded islets was separated from Goat Island 
only by a narrow channel, through which, 
however, the current flowed with great tu 
mult and violence. The trunk of a spruce 
tree, half submerged by the flood, in which it 
shook with perpetual tremor, offered a pas 
sage to the nearer islet to such as were in 
clined to avail themselves of it. But that 


was not I; I liked not the appearance of the 
aguish log, over which, every now and then, 
the torrent made a complete breach, leaping 
into the air like a gallant and impatient 
hunter taking a five-barred gate, and then 
plunging down again to pursue its impetuous 
course. Nor was my companion a whit 
more disposed to the adventure than my 
self. On the contrary, he gazed upon the 
foamy bridge with some share of the agita 
tion he had previously displayed. From 
this, however, he soon recovered, and even 
laughed at his weakness; after which, sitting 
down with me at the roots of an ancient 
tree, the roaring channel at our feet, he re 
lated the incident of adventure the mere 
allusion to which had aroused my curiosity. 
He was, he gave me to understand a citizen of 
the West of Illinois; but born in the Empire 
State, which he was now revisiting with no 
other object than to renew a brief acquain 
tance with the scenes of his youth. But it 
is proper he should speak his story in his 
own words. 






" MY earliest breath was drawn in the great 
metropolis; from which, [ thank heaven, 1 
have escaped to become a freeman of the 
prairies. The slavery of a city life, not to 
speak of the more intolerable bondage of 
trade, I early learned to detest; and I as early 
made an effort to throw off my chains, and 
turn savage. You know what the philoso 
pher I believe it is Humboldt says: ' It is 
with the beginning of civilization as with its 
decline: man appears to repent of the re 
straint which he has imposed on himself by 
entering into society; and he seeks the soli 
tude, and loves it, because it restores him to 
his former freedom." I was beginning to be 


civilized that is, I was beginning to make a 
fortune, which is one and the same thing 
when the impulse seized me, and I turned 
my face to the West. My first place of 
sojourn was the banks of this very river, the 
glorious Niagara, on which, as you perceive, 
I can scarce look without starting up to run 
away; not that I am very deeply galled by 
the looks of civilization it now wears its 
towns and cities, its shops and taverns, its 
mills and factories with which they are, here 
at the falls, striving to mar Heaven's handy- 
work; but because every look recalls to mem 
ory a terrible adventure that once befel me 
upon it, and which has converted my once 
ardent love of the majestic tide into fear and 

" I was already wearying of the increase of 
population around me, but not yet able to 
tear myself from scenes so lovely and be 
loved, when the projectors of a very pardon 
able innovation succeeded in throwing a 
bridge over to Goat Island, and thus opened 
to the eye of man haunts that were only be 
fore accessible through means the most diffi 
cult and dangerous. These little islets before 
us, and, I believe, several others on the east 
side, were brought under subjection in the 


same manner; and the project of bridging the 
Terrapin Rocks was also talked of; though 
that was left to be completed at a later 
period. The Terrapin Rocks still lay amid 
the curling billows, on the verge of the fall, 
as they had lain for a thousand years, un 
touched and unapproached by the foot of 
man. Often have I among the first to ram 
ble up and down the island, admiring its vir 
gin solitudes, its beauties yet uninvaded and 
undefiled sat upon yonder bluff, viewing 
those blackened rocks, and longing for the 
commencement and completion of the pro 
jected bridge, that I might be upon them. 
That very rock upon which you sat, I had 
fixed upon, in prospect, as the seat from 
which I should survey the flood, making a 
pleasure of fear, and enjoying the luxury of 
danger. It is true, that rock appeared en 
tirely isolated from the others; but that, with 
its exposed situation on the very edge of the 
precipice, formed its charm. I saw, or fan 
cied, that I might reach it by the same means 
accident provided for you by lodging a log 
against it. I was thus, in intention, guilty 
of the act, which I am now wise enough to 
pronounce midsummer madness in another." 


I made the narrator a bow; he smiled, 
and continued his story. 

"Meanwhile, that I might not neglect 
pleasures within my reach, while longing for 
those as yet unattainable, I did not fail to 
pursue the pastime of fishing, of which I was 
then extremely enamoured. Moored in my 
little skiff along the lonely shores of Grand 
Island, listing the ripple of the current and 
the thunder of the distant falls, I enjoyed a 
sense of liberty, hooked my nibbling white- 
fish, compared them to human beings, my 
fellows, all as eager to nibble at the baits of 
fortune, and thus played the moralist and 
tyrant together. 

" One sunny evening, while thus engaged, 
and with but little luck, the quiet of the hour 
and the scene, added to the charms of my 
philosophy, prevailed over me, and I fell fast 
asleep in my boat; and so remained for half 
an hour, dreaming, good, easy man, I was 
hauling up whitefish with men's faces, and 
other piscatory monsters, all in great num 
bers, and wi'th the ease and rapidity a fisher 
man loves. 

" On a sudden I awoke. The screams of 
my victims for methought they opened their 


mouths and cried for mercy had disturbed 
my conscience and startled me out of my 

"It was sunset: the shadows of the Canadian 
hills were stealing over the river, and the 
dusky twilight was gathering fast. For a few 
moments, my thoughts were in the confusion 
of slumber but half dispelled. The screams 
of my visionary captives still sounded in my 
ears; or, at least, I thought they did; until 
gradually made aware that the cries I now 
heard were those of human beings, whom I 
saw running wildly along the Canada shore, 
tossing their arms, and betraying other signs 
of the greatest agitation. I felt a drowsy 
surprise at the spectacle, and, for a moment, 
half wondered what had become of the island 
cove, with its hanging trees and jutting 
rocks, in which I had moored my boat; and 
what was the meaning of those dimmer and 
more distant shores, that seemed gliding past 
me like the phantasmas of a dream. Nay, 
I even wondered what caused the commo 
tion of the people on shore at what they 
were beckoning and screaming. 

" A louder yell from them broke the last re 
maining bonds of sleep; and I started up in 
my skiff, restored for the first time to full 
VOL. n. 3 


consciousness. My boat had broke her moor 
ings, and, God of Heaven! I was in the rapids! 

" Yes, in that fatal slumber fatal, yet tran 
quil as the sleep of happiness I had been 
floating down the tide, hearing, in my dreams, 
the shrieks of warning sent to me from the 
shore, yet hearing them all in vain, until it 
was too late to profit by them. I was in the 
rapids, plunging down the watery declivity 
towards the horrible gulf, from which nothing 
but the wings of an eagle could save me. Oh, 
the agony of that discovery the sting of 
that moment of horror ! 

" But was there no escape ? I was but a 
hundred yards from the shore, and my oars 
were swinging loose on their pivots. I seized 
them with the energy of despair; but a fierce 
blast burst from the shore, and whirled me still 
further into the current. Away, away down, 
down in spite of my exertions, which were 
as the struggles of an insect in a tornado; 
faster and faster, wilder and wilder nothing 
helped, nothing availed, save to add double 
bitterness to my cup of misery. The rapids 
grew fiercer and rougher, and, on a sudden, 
the oars were shivered to pieces in my hands. 
I started up with the mad thought of flinging 
myself into the tide and swimming for my 
life; but I was now midway in the channel, 


and the fury of the galloping billows all 
around me palsied heart and limb: there was 
no hope, there was no escape the falls had 
secured their victim. 

" I sat down, and covered my eyes with my 
hands; but it was only for an instant. I 
could not thus die tamely, like a fettered brute. 

" I rose again, frantic fiercely mad deter 
mined to leap into the water, and die at least 
struggling. My boat was already among the 
breakers on the reef running from the head 
of the island. Look ! you may see them 
through the spruces: how they leap up, strid 
ing and curling over the hidden rocks, pillars 
and arches of foam, beautiful yet dreadful to 
behold ! 

" Among these horrible billows my bfrat 
darted like an arrow, struck a rock, and was 
shivered to atoms. As for me, tossed twenty 
feet into the air by the shock, I had just 
enough of consciousness to exult in the thought 
that death was snatching me from suffering. 
In one moment more, I was swimming in the 
torrent, grasping at rocks over which I was 
borne with rending violence, and from which 
I was torn before my fingers could clutch 
them. A few months before, in constructing 
the bridge to the island, a man had fallen into 


the flood, and saved himself by clinging to a 
rock. I had heard of the expedient by which 
he was enabled to catch hold of the rock, 
and now sought to imitate it. Instead of 
striking out towards the island as I had been 
endeavouring to do, though, miserable me ! 
with no hope of reaching it, I turned my face 
up the flood, and strained every nerve to 
moderate the velocity of my flight through 
the current. The expedient succeeded. My 
body came in contact with a rock, which I 
was able to grasp in my hands, and, retain 
hold of for a moment. 

"It was only for a moment: my body formed 
an obstruction over which the waters leaped 
and foamed as over a new rock; and away 
they at last whirled me, drowning and help 
less, still struggling, but struggling, as I well 
knew, wholly in vain. 

" Away, again, down the ridgy steep I went 
swimming and rolling, now whelmed, now 
upon the surface, stealing a ghastly look of 
the sky that was to be dark to me for ever, 
bruised, wounded, strangling, and stunned by 
the thunder of the cataract over which I was 
hastening to fall. 

" That thunder grew every instant louder 
and more appalling; I could already see the 


hideous rim of the cataract the sudden 
sinking of the flood, known by its border of 
foam, mingled with the yellow light transmit 
ted through the edge of the down-curling 
water. This I saw with what I deemed my last 
look; but that look disclosed to me a black 
cluster of rocks among, or very near to which 
I was evidently hurrying. A prayer came to 
my lips; I screamed it to Heaven; and with 
efforts of strength that were rather convul 
sions than natural struggles, struck out to 
wards them, hoping the torrent might dash 
me among them. The torrent did dash me 
among them; but it was not until the very 
last of them had been reached that I found 
myself able to grasp it, to maintain my hold, 
and to crawl from the accursed flood. I was 
saved ! I lay secure upon the rock that 
very rock which I had so often longed to 
visit -a prisoner in the midst, and upon the 
verge, of the cataract. 






" I LAY upon the rock exhausted and faint 
ing, and, for a time, almost insensible. But, 
by and by, I recovered strength and looked 
around me. How horrible was the prospect ! 
Night was closing around me; and there I 
crouched upon my rock so small as scarce 
to permit me to lie at length on one side of 
it the abyss, on all the others the roaring 
waters. My hair bristled, as I peeped down 
the chasm; my heart withered, when I look 
ed upon the expanse of torrent hemming me 
in, the tumbling billows that menaced me as 
they approached, and mocked me as they 
rushed by and leaped down the precipice. 

" It was almost night, but objects were still 
faintly discernible on the shore. I saw hu- 


man figures moving on Table Rock. Were 
they the men who had seen me in the rapids, 
hailed me, waked me from my fatal sleep, 
and followed after me, running along the 
banks, to no, not to help me! Man could 
riot do that but to witness my fate? I rose 
upon my feet, and shouted at the wildest 
stretch of my voice. It was breath wasted 
the twittering of a sparrow 7 in a tempest, 
the cry of a drowning mariner in the midst 
of an ocean: the sound was scarcely audible 
to myself. They heard me not; they saw 
me not: the night was darkening upon them, 
and they stole away from the falls. What 
difference made it to me, whom, had they 
seen me, they could have only pitied? Yet 
I wept, when I saw them no more. There 
was something of support, something of com 
fort, even in the sight of a human being, 
though afar off, and incapable of rendering 
me any assistance. 

"By and by, it was wholly night; but a full 
moon was stealing up the sky, throwing, first, 
a yellow, ghastly lustre, and then, as she 
mounted higher, a silver glory, over the 
scene. A party of visiters came down upon 
the Table Rock to view the falls by moon 
light: I could see the fluttering of white scarfs 


and dresses there were women among them 
women, the soft-hearted, the humane, the 
pitying. I rose again; I waved my arms; I 
shouted. They look! It is upon the waters, 
among which I am nothing, a straw, a mote, 
a speck, invisible and unregarded. They 
looked, and they departed; and I was again 
in solitude as lonely, as friendless, as hope 
less, as if the sole dweller of the sphere. 

" Presently, as the night lapsed on, clouds 
gathered over the sky, and the moon was 
occasionally hidden, now and then to dart 
down a snowy beam through the driving 
rack, giving a wild and spectral character to 
the scene, which was before sufficiently aw 
ful. There were even indications of a storm: 
pale sheets of lightning ever and anon whi 
tened along the sky, and perhaps the thunder 
rolled; but that I heard not the thunders of 
the cataract swallowed up the detonations of 
heaven. A breeze there was ever a breeze 
there, the gusts from the vexed gulf below; 
but this was a wind that prevailed over the 
gusts of the fall came down from the lake, 
and grew momently in strength. I almost 
expected the hour, when, growing into fury, 
it should whirl me from my miserable rock, 
and plunge me down the falls. My next 


thought was full as terrible: this breeze blow 
ing from the lake must it not increase the 
volume of waters flowing down the river? 
Ay, and by and by, of all these rocks, now 
breasting and repelling the flood, there will 
not be one that is not covered a foot deep, 
a mighty billow r foaming over it! What 
then becomes of me, denied secure possession 
even of my wretched rock? 

" As I thought these things, deeming my 
misery greater than I could bear, greater 
than that wherewith heaven had afflicted any 
other mortal, a shriek echoed in my ear; and 
looking round, I beheld a boat in the rapids 
not fifty yards off, and within but as many 
feet of the fall, and in it a man, who seemed 
like myself to have been asleep, and was but 
now awaked to a consciousness of his situa 
tion. He shrieked, started up, uttered one 
more cry, and then vanished over the fall. 

" This dreary spectacle appeased my cla 
mours; it left me stupified, yet clinging with 
convulsive grasp to the rock on which, I felt, 
I had yet a brief term of existence. 

" The moon continued to rise, the clouds to 
darken, the lightnings to grow brighter; and, 
after a time, the storm I had apprehended, 
burst over me; the artillery of heaven was, 


at last, heard pealing and crashing, and add 
ing its elemental music to the boom of the 
waters. But before the storm burst, how 
many new incidents were added to that mid 
night adventure! Other things of life things 
to which life was as dear as to me, yet all 
more wretched than I passed over the falls 
within my sight. An eagle, blown by the 
tempest from his perch or, perhaps, maimed 
by a gunner, and thus precipitated into the 
river was whirled over, almost within reach 
of my hand, fluttering in vain the sinewy 
wings that had once borne him among the 
stars. Then came an ox, and a bear; a 
horse, whose scream was to the heart as 
sickening as death; and a dog, who, as he 
passed, yelped yes, even from the brink of 
the fall, yelped to me for succour. To me! 
to me who was myself so helpless and lost! 
I laughed a bitter laugh of derision and 

" By and by, a log was whirled down the 
rapid, and among the rocks. It lodged 
against the rock nearest my own that which 
1 would have given worlds but to reach 
and the free end, swinging in the current, 
struck against my little island, and ground 
its way by. Was not this a bridge offered 


me by Heaven, which had, at last, heard my 
supplications? Frantic with excitement, with 
mingled hope and fear, I snatched at the log, 
to drag it athwart my rock, hoping the very 
violence of the current would keep it secure 
ly lodged betwixt the two. I might as well 
have attempted to arrest a thunderbolt in its 
flight. I seized it, indeed, but its momentum 
was irresistible; and with a tremendous jerk, 
it both freed itself from my grasp and dashed 
me from my rock over the fall. Yes, over 
the fall; but! God be praised, my hands were 
able to clutch upon the rock, from which I 
hung suspended betwixt the heaven above 
and the hell beneath, swinging in the gusts 
and in the waters, which, on either side, 
washed my feet, falling upon them as with 
the weight of mountains. 

" What was all I had suffered before, com 
pared with the agonies of that moment, thus 
hanging, and every moment about to fall? 
I endeavoured to plant my feet on the bro 
ken face of the rock, and, in this way, clam 
ber again to its top: there were crannies and 
ridges enough, but rotted by the water and 
frosts, and they broke under my feet. My 
efforts only served the purpose of digging 
away the foundations of the rock, and thus 


expediting the moment of my fall. I threw 
all my strength into my arms, and, with a 
prodigious effort, succeeded yes, succeeded 
in again placing myself upon the rock, where 
I lay down upon my face and laughed with 

" Then came the tempest, the rushing wind, 
the roaring thunder, the blinding lightning. 
What horrible loveliness now sat upon the 
scene! Was not this more than sublime? 
more than terrific? Now the descending 
waters were veiled in impenetrable darkness, 
in a blackness as of death and chaos; and 
anon the red bolt, the levin-rocket bursting 
from the cloud, glared into the darkest nooks 
of the abyss, revealing and adorning them 
with a ghastly splendour. Add to this the 
thunder rattling in rivalry with the roaring 
flood,- and you have Niagara, seen at mid 
night, by the torches of Heaven fit lights 
for a spectacle so grand and stupendous. 

" It was a spectacle too magnificent to be 
lost by the visiters of Niagara, who came 
trooping down to the Table Rock; where, at 
every blaze of the lightning, I could see them 
clustered, expressing by their gestures their 
admiration and delight. I saw them so dis 
tinctly at times, that I thought it not impos- 


sible they also might see me; and accordingly 
I rose again to my feet, forgetting, or defy 
ing, the winds, and doing every thing in my 
power to attract their attention. 

" I succeeded; some one at last beheld me: 
I knew it by the agitation immediately visi 
ble among the crowd, all eyes being now 
turned in one direction to the rock on which 
fe I stood I, the lost and the wretched! The 
tears rushed to my eyes: I did not expect 
them to help me I knew they could not; but 
they pitied me; I should have, at least, some 
sympathizing fellow creature to see me die. 

" The agitation increased; lights were 
brought, and flashed to and fro; I saw torches 
upon the path leading down to the ferry 
torches even upon the water. What! they 
were crossing the river? The people of my 
own side would then know of my fate; and 
they yes, they might assist me! They could 
reach Goat Island they could come out 
upon the rocks they eould throw bridges 
over those rocks that were otherwise inac 
cessible! My heart leaped in my bosom: I 
should yet be saved! 

" I looked to Goat Island; yet looked long in 
vain. Was I deceived? Alas! that agita 
tion, those lights descending the rocks and 

VOL. II.- 


crossing the river; were there not a hundred 
causes to explain them, without reference to 
me? My hopes sunk, and I with them to 
my rock Heaven and earth! the water was 
already rising upon it! Yes, the river was 
swelling, swelling fast, and my treacherous 
rock was vanishing under my feet!" 






" AT that moment, a light gleamed from Goat 
Island, and I heard Was it fancy ? a halloo. 
Another light shone, followed by another, and 
another; and the flash of lightning disclosed 
a dozen men upon the bank. The same bright 
glare exhibited me, also, to them, and they set 
up a great shout that was no longer to be 
mistaken for a noise made by the winds or 
waters: it came distinctly to my ears; and I 
saw my friends run down the bank towards 
the rocks, waving their torches and their 
hands, as if to bid me be of good cheer. 

" My transports were inexpressible, as I be 
held them, some picking their way from rock 
to rock, advancing as near to me as they 
could, while others seemed to remain on the 

5. - 


island only to prepare the means for securing 
a still nearer approach. They were gather 
ing logs to make bridges knotting ropes 
together to float, or throw, to me nay, I 
knew not what they were doing; but I knew 
they were doing every thing they could, toil 
ing, every man, with generous zeal; and all 
of them, when the lightning discovered me 
standing with, outstretched hands, bursting 
into shouts meant to encourage and animate 
my spirits. 

" But the good work proceeded slowly; they 
advanced but a little way on the rocks, when 
the boiling currents brought them to a pause. 
A log was brought, and one step further se 
cured; and then another pause. I saw, there 
was doubt, and wavering, and confusion among 
them, and cried aloud to them not to desert 
me. Another log was brought and thrown 
over the chasm that arrested them: it bent, 
m shook, and was half whelmed in the torrent, 
and they yes, it was plain to me they fear 
ed to tread it ! One man, at last, a noble 
creature, stirred by the piercing cries which 
I now littered, dreading lest they should give 
over their exertions in despair, attempted the 
passage of the log reached its middle, stag 
gered and then fell into the flood. A dismal 


shriek burst from his companions But he 
was not lost! A rope had been previously 
fastened around his body; and with this they 
snatched him from the death he had so in 
trepidly dared for me. 

" This perilous adventure seemed to strike 
them all with dread. The confusion and 
wavering among them became still more mani 
fest: some crept back to the island; others 
pointed to the river rolling down increased 
and still growing floods; and others again 
looked up to the clouds, which were blacker 
and fiercer than ever. They uttered no more 
shouts, they offered no longer encouraging 
gestures. It was plain, they were abandon 
ing me to my fate, or resolved to wait for 
further assistance; when every moment of de 
lay was to me full of danger. The floods 
were already high upon my rock, and still 
rising. Another hour, a half hour perhaps 
but a few moments and assistance must 
come to me too late. They knew this; yet 
they were leaving me yes, it was plain they 
were leaving me ! 

" I grew frantic at the thought; and, ungrate 
ful for what they had already done, invoked 
curses upon them for failing in what they 
could not do. 


" Did my execrations reach their ears? As 
they turned to depart, a single figure detach 
ed itself from the group, ran across the log 
which had so nearly caused the death of the 
former adventurer, and then, with such tre 
mendous leaps as I never thought mortal man 
could make, and with a courage that seemed 
to laugh all perils to scorn, sprang from rock 
to rock, and at last stood at my side ! Will 
you not fancy despair had driven me mad, 
and that what I now r saw and heard was the 
dream of a mind overcome by sudden insa 
nity ? I saw, then no man but an infernal 
fiend standing at my side, who said to me, 
' Be thqu my servant, and I will set thee 
upon dry land.' And as he spoke, I felt my 
rock trembling and sinking under my feet. 
What will not a man not do for life ? ' I 
will be thy servant,' I cried. With that, he 
laughed the laugh of a devil in my face, and 
struck the rock with his foot; and down I 
sank to perdition. He struck 'the rock with 
his foot; or was it a thunder-bolt that smote 
it, crushing it away like an arch of sand? It 
melted from beneath me, and down I sank 
down, down into the abyss; and the waters 
fell upon me like a mountain, crushing, drown 
ing, suffocating; and I and I " The nar- 


rator paused a moment, wiped the sweat- 
drops from his forehead, and then laying his 
hand upon a mossy bank beside him, continued, 
"J found myself lying on this identical bank, 
a fragment of my boat beside me, the rest of it 
emerging from the water below that log," 
(pointing to the little bridge to the islet) 
" against which it had struck and been broken, 
and hurrying off to the cataract at the rate 
of sixty miles an hour!" 

I looked at the stranger in astonishment, 
perhaps also with indignation; for his story 
had taken deep hold on my feelings: but I 
saw in him nothing to justify a suspicion that 
he was amusing himself at my expense. On 
the contrary, his appearance indicated deep 
earnestne^fe and deep emotion; and he was 
manifestly struggling to shake off the effects 
of a harrowing recollection. But the affair 
was a mystery I desired to penetrate; and I 
exclaimed, somewhat hastily, and, indeed, 
with no little simplicity 

" And so, sir, I am to understand, you 
were not upon that rock at all ?" 

" Certainly," he replied; " I never was on 
that rock in my life, and, please Heaven, I 
never shall be. But, sir" and here he sum 
moned a faint smile, and again wiped his 


brows " you do not, I believe, entirely con 
ceive me. I tell you what was partly an ad 
venture, and partly a dream. It is true, that 
I fell asleep in my boat that my boat broke 
her moorings and drifted into the rapids; and 
it is also true, that, while thus drifting to 
wards destruction, I dreamed all 1 have told 
you the cries from the shore the toss from 
the boat, and the swim to the rock the ap 
pearance of the people upon Table Rock and 
Goat Island,the demon and all that I dream 
ed this, while thus floating. But in reality, 
while I was thus pleasantly engaged, my 
boat drifted into the channel here before us, 
and struck that bridge-log with a violence 
which both dispersed my dream and saved 
my life, by hurling me ashore. 

" This is my u hole story. You are sur 
prised, perhaps, that I made so much ado of 
my dream, and so little of the real adventure. 
But in truth, sir, I know nothing of the real 
adventure, except that I fell asleep in my 
boat and was thrown ashore on Goat Island 
Remember, I was asleep all the time. The 
dream is, to me, the real adventure, after all; 
for it had, and still has, upon my mind, all the 
force of reality. You observe, that I look 
upon this foaming channel before us upon 


that log, which if I had gone over or under, 
I must have perished, with little or no emo 
tion; while, on the contrary, the sight of the 
rock, the scene of imaginary perils and suf 
ferings, affects me in the strongest manner. 
Truly, the dream, the dream's the thing, that, 
with me, constitutes the soul of the adven 
ture; and I tell you it, not so much to sur 
prise you with its singularity, as to add one 
illustration to the many you have yourself, 
perhaps, gathered, of the power of the imagi 
nation in striking into the heart impressions 
deeper and more abiding than have been im 
printed by the touch of reality. One may 
understand the incurable hallucinations of 
madness, w^io will remember the influence of 
a dream." 

I thanked the gentleman for his story and 
explanation; and, after some hesitation, beg 
ged to know what construction he put upon 
his compact with the juggling fiend. 

" Why, hang him, as he did not comply 
with his engagement to place me on dry land, 
(as was natural enough for a devil,) I con 
sider the contract as broken, and my bond of 
servitude cancelled," the stranger replied, 
laughing; but added, a little more seriously 
" I lay the thing to heart, notwithstanding. 



A man may be shown, even in a dream, the 
true infirmity of his character the flirnsiness 
of his virtue, the weakness of his courage. 
In the daylight, we are all actors actors 
even to ourselves: it is only in sleep we can 
remove the mask, and look upon ourselves 
as heaven made us. 

" But, morbleu! the tavern-bell rings. Let us 
leave cold water and philosophy, and go to 










CAVES the world of rock-ribbed darkness 
under our feet have always formed a sub 
ject on , which my imagination delighted to 
dwell; and to this day, the name seldom 
falls upon my ears without conjuring up a 
thousand grimly captivating associations 
thoughts of the wild and supernatural, the 
strange and terrific which are the more en 
ticing for being so unlike the usual phantasms 
of a day-dream existence. To my boyish 


conceits, Epimenides gathering wisdom in a 
brown study of fifty years in the cavern of 
Crete, was a much wiser personage than the 
other seven sages of Greece, who merely 
hunted for truth at the bottom of a well; while 
Bassus, the Carthaginian, digging, with a 
Roman army, for the lost treasure-cave of 
queen Dido,* was a greater hero than the 
mightiest Julius wading in blood at Pharsalia. 
For the same reason, if the truth must be 
told, I even held that the dark Hades the 
inamabile regnum^ as Tisiphone so emphati 
cally called it the domain of Pluto, which, 
as every body knows, was only to be reached 

* V. Tacit. , 1. xvi, c. 1, et seq. This wonderful cavern, 
which, according to the representations of Bassus, made to 
the emperor Nero, was upon his own estate, near Carthage, 
he declared, " contained immense stores of gold not wrought 
into the form of coin, but in rude and shapeless ingots, such 
as were in use in the early ages of the world. In one part of the 
cave were to be seen massy heaps, and in other places 
columns of gold towering to a prodigious height; the whole 
an immense treasure, reserved in obscurity to add to the splen 
dour of Nero's reign." 

The effect of this crackbrained schemer's representations 
was not confined to the emperor, who despatched him to 
Africa in state to fetch the buried treasure, but was felt by 
the whole Roman people. " No other subject," says Tacitus, 
" was talked of;" and during the quinquennial games, it was 
" the theme on which the orators expatiated, and the poets 
exhausted their invention." It was the " Mississippi Scheme" 
of the day. 


through the dismal antres of Cumse and 
Tsenarus, was a decidedly more interesting 
habitation for curious spirits than even the 
sun-lit and privileged tops of Olympus. The 
Troglodytes were my beau ideal of a sensi 
ble and happy nation. 

Some tincture of my own peculiar propen 
sity, however, I think may be traced in 
the mind of the world at large. It is certain, 
there are few subjects on which men have 
given, and still continue to give, a greater 
loose to their imaginations than that of caves. 
The time has indeed gone by when they be 
lieved that devils and condemned souls had 
their appointed place within the hollows of 
the earth, accessible, even to mortal foot, 
through each cavern, each alia spelunca that 
yawned on its surface; the Pythium no longer 
breathes itsoraculous vapour; the cave of Tro- 
phonius whispers no more the secrets of fate; 
and even the modern hags of the broomstick, 
that once 

" Plied in caves, th' unutterable trade," 

and the fairy Gnomes that 

" Dug the mine and wrought the ore," 


are no longer expected to be found quiring 
around the infernal caldron, or dancing amid 
their heaps of gleaming treasure. But if 
Truth the murderess of Fancy has been 
at work on the classic mythos and the Gothic 
fable, she has still left us enough to wonder 
at in the world below; she has robbed it of 
the supernatural, but not of the marvellous. 
The Mundus Subterraneus of old father Kir- 
cher, however exploded in most of its parti 
culars, among scientific men, contains nothing 
too incredible for the mass of mankind. For 
tunately, as it happens, for the good old 
Jesuit's sake, as well as mankind's, there are, 
as far as mere caves are concerned, so many 
wonders already established as undoubted 
facts, that a man may be pardoned for be 
lieving almost any thing. But let us glance 
at some of these authenticated marvels. 
They will form a proper introduction to the 
subject of the present description the Ihne- 
stone Pandemonium, with which I desire to 
make the reader acquainted. Apropylon of 
wonders becomes the Mammoth Cave, and 
should lead the way up to its gaping door, as 
rows of sphinxes conduct the traveller td the 
front of an Egyptian temple. 
The famous Eldon Hole of Derbyshire 


(who has not heard of the Eldon Hole ?) has 
been sounded with a plummet-line of nearly 
ten thousand feet in length that is, within 
but a little of two miles without reaching the 
bottom; and the Pit of Fredericshall, in Nor 
way, it is inferred from the number of seconds 
a stone consumes in reaching the bottom, 
must be more than two miles in depth. 
Whether the sound of a falling stone, rever 
berating through a tube even smoother Man 
than we can fancy the pit of Fredericshall to 
be, could be actually heard at the depth of 
eleven thousand feet, I leave to be conjec 
tured; but I may aver, in reference to the 
Eldon Hole, which was really sounded by a 
line to the depth mentioned, that if the doc 
trine of internal fire, resuscitated by modern 
Vulcanists, be true, and the scale of increas 
ing temperatures adopted by them be just, 
there ought to ascend from this same conve 
nient flue, heat enough to warm all Derby 
shire. The internal heat of the earth is 
said by philosophers to increase 1^ Fahren 
heit, for every 100 feet of descent. If the 
mouth of Eldon Hole were on a level with 
the general surface of the earth, the bottom 
ought to be at a temperature 100 above the 
mean temperature (say 50) at the surface. 


Tvvo miles under ground ! With these facts 
in vie>w, who shall quarrel with his neighbour 
for believing, as many a man does, that he 
has eaten his dinner, in the Mammoth Cave, 
under the bed of Green River ? or with the 
monkeys of Gibraltar for having made their 
way from Africa to Europe, as every body 
knows they must have done, via the Grot of 
St. Michael, under the foundations of the 
Mediterranean ? 

The extent of caves is a subject upon 
which men are still more inclined to be glo 
rious. But here we have facts enough on 
record to countenance any stretch of magni 
loquence; besides opinions, which, as the 
world goes, have, in general, with mankind, 
all the weight and consequence of facts. 
Thus, the people of Java are of opinion that 
the sacred cave of Samarang affords a sub 
marine passage from their island to Canton, 
in China a distance of somewhat more than 
two thousand miles, traced in a line as straight 
as could be winged by an albatross. But 
leaving opinions, let us refer to a fact of phi 
losophic celebrity, which, besides being quite 
a settler of all difficulties, possesses some pe 
culiar features of interest. In the year 1752, 
the Rio del Norte, one of the greatest rivers 


of America, (its length is reckoned at full 
two thousand miles,) suddenly sank into the 
earth, leaving its bed dry for a space of fifty 
leagues; and in this condition it remained 
several weeks, the waters flowing into some 
subterranean abyss, which it required them 
so long a time to fill. Allowing the river at 
the Paso del Norte, where the incident oc 
curred, to be but a quarter-mile wide, and its 
depth but five feet, with a current of two 
miles the hour, and supposing it continued to 
sink into the earth during two weeks, we can 
give a pretty shrewd guess at the extent and 
capacity of the cavern in which it was swal 
lowed up. According to my calculations, to 
dispose of such a body of water, would have 
demanded a cave one hundred feet wide and 
high, and just five hundred miles long! Nor 
must this statement, however lightly made, 
be considered absurd. Let it be remembered 
that the channel of the river for a space of 
fifty leagues, was absolutely robbed of its 
waters. Supposing their disappearance had 
been only momentary, it is easy to perceive, 
the abyss that received them must have been 
vaster than we can readily figure to our im 

After this, no one need doubt the veracity 


of those travellers who relate their moderate 
rambles of " twenty miles or thereabouts" in 
the great caves of the West. No one need 
even be astounded at the grandeur of that 
renowned cave of Tipperary, discovered in 
1833, with its chambers " wider than angels 
ken" one "nearly a mile in circumference," 
another " of about three miles in circumfer 
ence" so paddywhackishly described by an 
enthusiastic correspondent of the Tipperary 
Free Press; though, sorry we are to confess, 
in the hands of a malicious surveyor, the hall 
of a mile in circumference is said to have 
suddenly shrunk into a room of ninety feet by 
one hundred and fifty, and that of three miles 
into one of one hundred feet by just two hun 
dred and fifty. This is a climax somewhat 
similar to that of the story of the severity 
cats "our cat and another one!" But what 
if it be? There is 

" Something yet left remarkable 
Beneath the visiting moon:" 

The wonders of the cave-world are not yet 

Let us accompany Humboldt, the profound- 
est of chorographers, the most veracious 


of travellers, to the cave of the Guacharo, 
among the mountains of Cumana, in South 
America. It opens on the face of a preci 
pice, a grand abyss seventy-seven feet high 
and eighty-five wide. A river, born of dark 
ness and night, like many of the streams of 
Carniola, rolls from its mouth; while festoons 
of creeping plants, the ivies of the tropics, 
hanging from the rocks above, and glittering 
with flowers of every gorgeous dye, swing 
across the chasm like so many boa-constric 
tors on the watch for prey. A grove -of 
palms and ceibas the tropical cotton-wood 
rises tall and verdant at the very entrance, 
with birds singing, and monkeys chattering, 
among the boughs. Through this grove you 
enter the cave; and in this grove you con 
tinue, even when the world of sunshine has 
been left some distance behind. The palms 
still lift their majestic tops, and the ceibas 
rub their green heads against the rocky roof; 
whilst flowers the heliconia, the dragon- 
root, and others bloom under your feet. 
The palms and ceibas at last cease to appear; 
but not so the flowers. As far as man has 
penetrated a distance of more than a quar 
ter of a mile you still see them growing, 
and all in darkness; on the hill of the cascade 


(for a hill there is, and a cascade too,) and 
beyond, you find them flourishing among 
pillars of stalactite, as pale, as sepulchral, as 
fantastic, yet as beautiful, as the growth of 
spar around them. One might here dream 
of the grove of Aladdin, with its trees bear 
ing fruits of diamond and ruby, of sapphire 
and emerald; and the more especially as 
every rub of your iron lamp against a spar 
calls up before your affrighted eyes a thou 
sand horrible genii not the mighty sons of 
Eblis indeed, but black and dismal guacharos, 
birds bigger than our northern screech-owls 
that with fluttering wing and thrilling 
shriek, repel the invader of their enchanted 
abode. Compared with such a subterraneous 
elysium, the garden discovered by Don 
Quixotte, in his memorable exploration of the 
cave of Montesinos, el mas bello, ameno y 
dcleitoso que puede criar la naturaleza the 
most beautiful and delightful that nature ever 
made is but a kitchen garden. 

But what is even the cave of the Guacharo 
to the Flaming Caves of Cumanacoa two 
wonders of nature hidden among the same 
mountains? In the face of a tremendous pre 
cipice looking over the savage woods that 
skirt the mountain below, are two immense 


holes, visible at a great distance, even in the 
day-time. But it is at night that they are 
seen to the best advantage; and then, if his 
star be propitious, if the Indian Cyclopes in 
the bowels of the Cerro start from their slum 
bers to renew their oft interrupted toil at 
forge and bellows, the traveller, leaping from 
his own uneasy couch, beholds with amaze 
ment the mouths of the caverns lighted up 
with flames; he sees, high on the sable cliff, 
two mighty disks of fire that glare upon him 
from afar, like the eyes of some crouching 
monster a tiger-cat as big as a Cordillera 
or those more portentous orbs that might 
have blazed under the brows of the arch 
enemy, when he 

" Dilated stood 
Like Teneriffe or Atlas," 

the Quinbus Flestryn of demons. The In 
dians and Creoles that take to their heels at 
the first shriek of the guacharos, could be 
scarcely expected to brave the terrors of the 
Flaming Caves. The thick forests at the 
base of the cliffs are, besides, the haunts of 
innumerable jaguars creatures that think 
little of shouldering a bullock in the midst of 


the herd, and tramping victorious off, and 
would, of course, think still less of swallow 
ing a herdsman who should come in their 
way. Hence, as it happens, mortal man has 
not yet disturbed the solitude, or explored the 
wonders of the Flaming Caves, which he is 
content to admire at the distance that lends 
safety, as well as enchantment, to the view. 

Of an equally, perhaps of a still more, 
wonderful character is another cave of South 
America in Peru or Bolivia, I think of 
which I once read, though I cannot now tell 
where to lay my hands on it, that gapes on 
a mountain side, as black and gloomy as 
cave may be, until the close of the day; when, 
the shades of the mountain having fallen over 
it, and over every thing else in the neigh 
bourhood, on a sudden, warm sunshine gushes 
from its jaws, lights up the objects around, 
smiles, trembles, fades, and then expires. 
This must be the entrance to the Elysium of 
the American races the Happy Hunting 
Grounds, which all the tribes, savage and 
civilized together, believe the Master of Life 
has prepared for the souls of the brave and 
just. But, unfortunately, no Humboldt has 
yet visited the spot, and we know no more of 
it than I have mentioned. Within its un- 


known chambers we should perhaps find such 
Hesperian Gardens and Elysian Fields as 
must leave even the cave of the Guacharo in 
the shade crystal wildernesses, overgrown 
with phosphorescent cryptogamm those lu 
minous plants, which, in the coal-mines of 
Dresden, and some other places, hanging in 
festoons from the roof and pillars, and stretch 
ing in tapestry along the walls, diffuse a 
glorious lustre on all around; until the visiter, 
amazed and delighted, fancies himself in the 
palace of the Fairy Queen, or a cavern dug 
out of moonlight. The South American cave, 
to whatever cause it may owe its resplendent 
emanation, is, undoubtedly, a great wonder; 
but the rocks of the Nile and the Orinoco ex 
hale music why should not others breathe 

According to old Mezeray (or rather, ad- 
cording to some of those philosophers who 
quote him, for I myself could never light upon 
the page that records the marvel,) there is a 
cavern in Dauphiny, near Grenoble, famous 
as the seat of a subterraneous Erie and Ni 
agara, famous also for the exploring voyage 
performed in it, in his youth, by Francis I, in 
royal person. At a considerable distance 
from the entrance was a sheet of water of 


unknown bounds, which had previously ar 
rested the steps of all visitants. But what 
shall restrain the curiosity of a king? A 
barge was constructed, illuminated with hun 
dreds of flambeaux, and launched into the 
flood; into which the gallant Francis, attend 
ed by a party of his bravest courtiers, struck 
boldly out, the Columbus of the caverned deep 
taking good care, however, to leave a huge 
beacon-fire blazing behind him on the rocky 
beach, to secure his safe return. A voyage 
of three miles (cave-distance, be it recollected,) 
conducted the royal adventurer to the oppo 
site shores of the ocean; whence having 
landed, and, I suppose, taken possession in 
the usual style of discoverers, he turned his 
prow in another direction, determined to 
fathom all the mysteries of the lake. By and 
by, an experienced boatman declared the 
barge was no longer floating on a stagnant 
lake, but in a current that was perceptibly 
increasing in strength; and a courtier called 
the attention of the monarch to a hollow 
noise heard in the distance, which, like the 
current, was every moment growing stronger 
nay, even swelling into horrific thunder. 
The navigators rested on their oars, while a 
plank, to which several flaming torches were 



tied, was committed to the water. It floated 
rapidly away, became agitated, tossed up 
and down, and finally pitched down the un 
known cataract, to which the rival of Charles 
V. was so ignorantly hastening. " Back 
oars!" was then* the cry; and all rowing for 
their lives, the monarch had the good fortune 
to regain his beacon, and the upper air, with 
which, it appears, he remained content for 
the rest of his life. 

A singular story was formerly told of a 
cave in Upper Canada, in the ridge that 
bounds the western shore of Ontario, from 
which it was but seven or eight miles re 
moved. It bore the awe-inspiring title of the 
Devil's Wigwam Manito Wigwam so call- 

?5 O 

ed by the Indians, who seemed very devoutly 
to believe that the father of lies had there es 
tablished his head-quarters. (Had they put 
him in the Irish cave, previously described, 
the residence would have been more appro 
priate.) The Manito-Wigwam was reported 
to be of vast depth, consisting of several ter 
races separated one from another by preci 
pices of more than a hundred feet perpendicu 
lar pitch, the last terminating in a fathomless 
gulf, into which no human being had ever 
endeavoured to penetrate. From this cavern, 
VOL. n. 6 


once a week, issued a terrific din, an earth 
quake-like explosion, of such force as to 
shake the hills for five leagues around. The 
Manito-Wigwam was therefore a very won 
derful cave. I say was, for I know not 
whether it is now in existence. The same 
enterprizing spirit which has converted Ni 
agara into a mill-pond, might as easily have 
modified the Devil's Wigwam into a hole for 
storing winter potatoes. 

To this catalogue of wonderful caverns, 
which I might easily swell to greater length, 
it would be unpardonable not to add a notice 
of the marvellous one discovered a year or 
two since by two scientific gentlemen of 
Philadelphia, in one of the mountain counties 
of East Tennessee; in which they lighted 
upon the petrified bodies of two men and a 
dog, of races manifestly older by many thou 
sand years than the men and dogs of the 
present day. Those venerable remains it 
was said to be the intention of the discover 
ers to remove from their rocky dwelling to 
the more appropriate shelves of a museum, to 
take their places among mummied moderns 
of the time of Pharaoh, and divide with Java 
nese dragons and mermaids the admiration 
of a discerning public. It does not, how- 




ever, appear that these petrified ancients 
have yet left their cavern, not so much as a 
finger having been received in any museum 
in the land; a circumstance that can only be 
accounted for by the ingenious and veracious 
editor, to whom the public owes the first no 
tice of the discovery. 






AMONG so many wonders and prodigies, 
the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky, it may be 
supposed, must sink into insignificance. It 
reveals no subterranean gardens, no Stygian 
lakes, no stupendous waterfalls; it discharges 
no volcanic flames, it emits no phosphoric 
sunlight; it contains no petrified pre-Adarnites, 
and no hollow thunders are heard resounding 
among its dreary halls. It is not two miles 
deep; it is not five hundred miles long nay, 
it can no longer boast even the twenty miles 
of extent, which formerly contributed so much 
to its glory. The surveyor has been among 
its vaults; he has stretche^ his chain along 
its galleries, he has broken the heart of its 
mystery, and, with cruel scale and protractor, 


he has laid it down upon paper. He has illus 
trated the truly remarkable fact, which none 
but the most cold-blooded of philosophers 
were ever before inclined to suspect namely, 
that when you would know the true extent 
of any antre vast in which you have jour 
neyed, the admiring of all admirers, you 
should first take the shortest extent you can 
possibly believe it to be, and then divide 
that length by the sum total of your 
thumbs and fingers, being satisfied that, 
if the answer be not exactly right, it will be 
extremely near it. Thus Weyer's cave in 
Virginia the Antiparos of the Ancient Do 
minion, one of the loveliest grots that fairy 
ever, or never, danced in was, until recently 
surveyed, pretty universally considered as 
being full three miles in length. By the rule 
above, we should bring its true extent down 
to between five and six hundred yards; a re 
sult that very closely coincides with the ad 
measurement of the surveyor. By the same 
rule, we should reduce the Mammoth Cave to 
two miles; which comes but little short of the 
truth. Nevertheless, the Mammoth Cave is 
still the monarch of caves: none that have 
ever been measured can at all compare with 
it, even in extent; in grandeur, in wild, 
6* ' 


solemn, severe, unadorned majesty, it stands 
entirely alone. " It has no brother, it is like 
no brother." 

What I have said of the length of this 
cave, it must be observed, applies only to a 
single passage. It is a labyrinth of branches, 
of which the principal one is two miles and 
a half long. There are two or three others 
of nearly half that length. The extent of 
all the passages, taken together, is between 
eight and nine miles. There are, besides, 
many which have never been explored, and 
perhaps never will be some opening in the 
sides, and at the bottoms, of pits that would 
appal a samphire-gatherer or an Orkney fow 
ler; others, of which there are countless 
numbers, opening by orifices so narrow that 
nothing but blasting with gunpowder can 
ever render them practicable; and perhaps as 
many more, accessible and convenient enough, 
but whose entrances, concealed among rocks 
and cranmies, no lucky accident has yet dis 
covered. The Deserted Chambers, forming 
a considerable portion of the whole cave, and 
now accessible through two different ap 
proaches, have only been known for a com 
paratively brief number of years; and the 
Solitary Cave, with its groves of spar, its 


pools, and springs, and hollow-sounding floors, 
is a still more recent discovery. 

The survey of the cave, as far as it is now 
known, we owe to Mr. Edmund F. Lee, an 
engineer of Cincinnati, who has executed his 
task with skill and fidelity. The difficulties, 
labours I might even say, the dangers of 
his enterprise (in which he was occupied, I 
believe, three or four months the whole win 
ter of 18345,) can only be appreciated by 
those who are familiarly acquainted with the 
cave. The exploit of surveying and levelling 
eight or nine miles of cavern appears to me 
unprecedented. Mr. Lee's Map, with the lib 
retto of " Notes" accompanying it, published 
in Cincinnati by James and Gazlay, interest 
ing alike to the lovers of romance and of 
science, is a curious and valuable production, 
which I cordially recommend to my readers 
and the public. 

The Mammoth Cave lies upon Green 
River, in a corner of Edmonson county, Ken 
tucky, in the heart of the district long known 
as the Barrens a vast extent of rolling hills 
and knobs, once bare and naked prairies, in 
fact, as they were sometimes called but now 
overshadowed by a young forest of black 
jacks and other trees that delight in an arid 



soil. The whole country is one bed of lime 
stone, with as many caverns below as there 
are hills above, both seeming to have been 
formed at the same moment, and by the same 
cause some primeval convulsion by which 
the rocky substratum was torn to pieces, and 
the knobs heaped up. That earthquakes had 
something to do in carving out the caves of 
the West, no one will doubt who has clam 
bered among those prodigious blocks of stone 
masses which to move would have puzzled a 
Pelasgian builder of old that lie strewn about 
the floors of the Mammoth Cave, shivered from 
the roofs and walls by some violent concussion. 
The earthquakes that formed them, seem 
however, not always to have opened the rag 
ged fissures to the air: that was left to an 
other agency the infiltration, in most in 
stances, of water, by which the thinner and 
weaker portions of the crust were gra 
dually disintegrated, and finally swept into 
the interior. The Mammoth Cave itself 
was evidently opened in this way, in re 
mote times, after remaining sealed up for 
a long series of centuries; and in this case, 
as in most others, the mass of falling rocks, 
sinking across a spacious excavation, has 
been sufficient to block it up in one direction, 


while yielding easy access in the other. The 
Horse-shoe Cave, however, a grotto twelve 
or fifteen miles distant from the Mammoth 
is an instance in which the roof has fallen', 
without obstructing the passage on either 
side: you enter the cave, as it were, by a side 
door, and may penetrate with equal ease to 
the right hand or the left. In many cases, 
there seem to exist caverns with no roof of 
rock at all, the fissure having extended to the 
top of the limestone, where it is covered over 
only by a thin layer of soil. It is not alto 
gether an uncommon thing for a traveller in 
Kentucky to play the Curtius, and plunge, 
horse and man, into the bowels of the earth 
at a moment when he feels neither patriotic 
nor heroical, but very much like any other 
mortal. It was but two years ago that a 
gentleman of Lexington, ambling over his 
fields, in the neighbourhood of that city, sur 
veying his stacks of hemp, and speculating 
perhaps, like a philanthropist, upon the num 
ber of rascals his crop might be expected to 
hang, suddenly found himself sinking into the 
earth, whirling in a Maelstrom of clay and 
stones; from which, however, he succeeded 
in extricating himself by leapiug briskly from 
his horse. The animal sank to a depth of 


one hundred and fifty feet, where he became 
wedged between two rocks, the sides of a 
cavern, and perished. A similar accident 
happened in the Barrens of which I speak, as 
early as 1795, when a planter of West Ten 
nessee lost his horse, and saved himself, in 
the same way; only, that on this occasion, 
the animal tumbled into a more spacious 
cavern, in which he walked about until starv 
ed to death. 

But let us hasten to the cave. It is mid 
summer. It was at that season, several 
years ago, I made my first (it was not my 
only) visit to the cave. It was the close of 
merry June merry, yet not merry, for the 
pestilence was then abroad in the land, and 
men were thinking and talking of nothing 
but cholera when I, with an excellent friend, 
(alas ! now no more,) who was as eager as 
myself to escape to some nook where cholera 
was unknown, where our ears should be no 
longer pained, nor our souls sickened by 
" every day's report" of cases made my way 
to the heart of the Barrens, and in good time, 
one bright morning, found myself approach 
ing the Mammoth Cave. The air was hot 
upon the hill-tops, hotter still in the little val 
leys that, with their lowly cabins of logs, and 


smiling, though half-cultivated corn-fields, pre 
sented here and there a few demi-oases in 
the desert of black-jacks, through which we 
were jogging: there was no breeze in the for 
est, but there was note of preparation among 
the white and sable-silvered clouds aloft, that 
now sent a heavy rain-drop pashing in our 
faces and now woke the woods with rattling 
peals of thunder. But what cared we for show 
er or bolt ? We were vagabondizing among 
the knobs; and, by and by, we should be 
under the canopy of the cave, deep in vaults 
where the rain beats not and the thun 
der is never heard. We are even now riding 
over its labyrinthine halls: each of these rocky 
hills is arched over one of its gloomy vaults; 
and it is in a glen upon the side of the very 
knob, on whose flat, plain-like summit we are 
now coursing to our journey's end, we are to 
find its darksome portals. Under this moul 
dering stile of logs, where we leave our Rozi- 
nantes, rejoiced to escape their excruciating 
backs, under this venerable, rickety porch, 
where we pause a moment to look around, at 
a depth of a hundred feet below, is one of 
the hugest chambers of the cave. The guide 
prepares his iron torches, his bucket of oil 
or, to speak less poetically, his bucket of lard, 


(for here the fat of Leviathan is unknown,) 
and his basket of provisions; while we, ex 
horting him to despatch, set off to explore 
the mysteries of the glen, the redoubtable 
Cave-Hollow, ourselves. 

But first let us seduce honest Bull, the 
great dog that has been wagging his tail at 
us in token of friendship, to lead us to the 
cavern. " You may get him into the Hollow," 
quoth the guide, nodding his head; " but you 
won't get him into the cave; because dogs 
are exactly the people that won't go in, no 
way you can fix it. They have a horror of 
it." Verily, after we had ourselves got in, and 
seen the last glimmer of fading daylight swal 
lowed up in midnight gloom, we began to 
think Bull's discretion not so very extraordi 
nary. There actually is a point at which 
dogs begin to think of themselves in prefer 
ence to their masters. I once saw a hulking 
cur, who boasted the same name Bull as all 
big dogs, except Newfoundland ones, do at 
tempt to follow his master over the bridge 
above the falls of Niagara. It was a fine 
sunshiny day, and Bull, being in a joyous hu 
mour, had gallopped a hundred yards or so 
along the bridge, without much thinking of 
where he was or whither going. But on a 


sudden the idea struck his mind, or whatever 
part of him served for mind; he stopped, ap 
plied his nose to a crack in the planks, and 
made a dead set at the horrible green and 
white billows beneath. " Come on, Bull!" 
cried his master from afar. " If I do," said 
Bull, " I wish I may ;" not that he actu 
ally said so much in words, but it was written 
in his eye. His tail fell, his ears began to 
to rise, he stole a sidelong look at the waters 
above and the waters below; and planted him 
self in the centre of the bridge, from which 
he refused to budge, except upon hard jost 
ling, even to let myself get by. His master 
called again and again; and I believe Bull 
made some small effort to advance, stepping 
slowly and carefully forward, as if treading 
upon eggs. He did not, however, proceed 
far; and when I saw him last, he had come 
to a second stand, and was again surveying 
the boiling surges through the gaps of the 
planks, looking volumes of mute terror and 
perplexity. How he ever got to firm land 
again I know not; for he was evidently as 
much afraid to return as to advance. 

Were there indeed such horrors in the 
Mammoth Cave as should make a dog a 
coward on instinct? The thought sharpened 

VOL. II. 7 


our expectations, and we were the more 
eager to make its acquaintance. 

And now let us descend the Cave-Hollow- 
a ravine that begins a mere gully at first, 
but, widening and deepening as you proceed, 
becomes at last, on the banks of the river, 
half a mile to the west, a valley that might 
almost be -called spacious. It is bounded by 
ledges of calcareous rock overlaid by sand 
stone, which, in some places, assume the ap 
pearance of precipices, and, in others, are 
piled together in loose blocks. Along the 
line of wall thus bounding the valley, spring 
tall oak-trees and chestnuts, rooted among 
the rocks; while elms, and walnuts, maples 
and papaws, and a thousand other trees, with 
vines, weeds, brambles, and many a glaring 
wild-flower, occupy the depths of the hollow, 
shutting it out almost as much from the blue 
heaven above as its rocky walls seclude it 
from the habitable earth around. A brook 
that runs when the clouds run, and at no 
other period, has ploughed a rugged channel 
down one side of the glen; and along its 
banks or in its parched bed, as seems most 
convenient, we make our way, looking for the 
cave, which refuses to be found; hiding from 
the sun, which, however, neither the scudding 


thunder-clouds nor the embowering tree-tops 
can wholly keep from our visages; and sigh 
ing for something to " allay the burning 
quality" of the atmosphere, some cool breeze 
stirred by the wing of Favonius from foun 
tain-side or brim, some But soft! we have 
our wish; a cool breeze does at last breathe 
over our cheeks; it rolls a gentle und invisi 
ble stream, a river of air, down the valley. 
On that grassy terrace above, we shall en 
joy it. On that grassy terrace we step, and 
the cave yawns before us! The breeze, at 
first so cool, and now so icy, comes from its 
marble jaws; it is the breath of the monster. 
How dark, how dismal, how dreary! The 
platform sinks abruptly under your feet, form 
ing a steep and broken declivity of thirty or 
more feet in descent, and as much in width. 
From the bottom of the abyss thus formed, 
springs an arch, whose top is on a level lower 
even than your feet, while the massive rock 
that crowns it is on a plane which you can 
still overlook. The cave is therefore under 
your feet; you look down upon it; it is sub 
terraneous even at its entrance; and this is a 
circumstance which adds double solemnity 
and horror to its appearance. In other re 
spects its aspect is haggard and ghastly in 


the extreme. The gray rocks, consisting of 
thick horizontal plates, forming ledges and 
galleries along the sides; the long grasses, 
the nodding ferns, the green mosses and li 
chens, that have fastened among their cran 
nies; the pit immediately under the spring of 
the arch, loosely choked with beams, planks, 
earth and stones; the stream of crystal water, 
oozing from the mosses on the face of the 
crowning rock, and falling with a wild patter 
ing sound upon the ruins below; the dismal 
blackness of the vacuity, in which objects are 
obscurely traced only for a few fathoms; and 
the ever-breathing blast, so cold, so strange, 
so sepulchre-like; form together a picture of 
desolation and gloom inconceivably awful 
and repelling. Indeed, instances not unfre- 
quently occur where visiters are so much 
overcome by its appearance, as to fall back 
upon their instincts, like honest Bull the dog, 
and refuse to enter it altogether. A singular 
addition is given to its dreariness by the pre 
sence of several mouldering beams of wood 
stretched across the mouth from ledge to 
ledge, and two tottering chimneys of stone, 
behind the cotton-wood tree on the right 
hand; the ruins of old saltpetre works, the 
manufacture of which villanous compound, in 


the last war, was carried on to a great ex 
tent in the cave. But peace came, and with 
it those curses of trade, low prices, by which 
the manufacturers were scattered to the 
winds, and the Mammoth Cave again left to 
its solitude. But that is its proper condition. 
A city at Niagara, a factory in the Mammoth 
Cave, are consummations of enterprising am 
bition only to be hoped for by men whose 
hearts are of gold and silver, and their nerves 
and brains of the dross thereof. 

How dark, how dismal, how dreary! One 
would think that no living creature, save man 
alone, the lover of romance and adventure, 
would willingly enter this horrible pit. Yet 
a swallow has built her nest under the grim 
arch; and as she darts with flashing wing 
through the thin waters of the falling brook, 
and turns gamesomely about, and darts 
through them again and again, her twittering 
cries are as full of jocund mirth as of music. 
What is it to her that all around is darkness, 
fear, and desolation? The chirping of her 
young from the shattered roof makes the 
cave her paradise. And that little lizard, stri 
ped with azure and scarlet,that dances around 
the trunk of the stunted crab-apple growing on 
the face of the descent the most beautiful, 



delicate, graceful, resplendent, mischievous 
little rascal my eyes ever beheld he mocks 
me, but he will not let me catch him! there 
is something here, though what I know not, 
to make the chill, moist entrance of the cave 
more delighiful even to him than the gray, 
heated rocks above, where his comrades are 
basking. And yet the lizard and swallow are 
frisking at the mouth of a sepulchre. The 
nitre taken from this cave was dug from 
among the bones of buried Indians. If we 
can believe the account of those who should 
know best, many a generation of dead men 
sleeps among the vaults of the Mammoth 
Cave. Perhaps this thought, busy in the 
mind of the visiter, invests its aspect with a 
more awful solemnity than it really pos 








BUT let us descend. The guide has arrived; 
the swinging torches are tied each to its 
staff,, and lighted; our canteens are filled from 
the trough that receives the crystal brook, 
and all is ready for the subterranean journey. 
Enter the mighty portal 

Arch'd so high, that giants may jet through 
And keep their impious turbands on, without 
Good-morrow to 

the gloom. How ragged and shivered is the 
broken roof above, as if those aforesaid giants 
with the " turbands" on had been employed 
to rough-hew the arch. But the floor is firm, 


dry, smooth clay: so far we owe thanks to 
the nitre-diggers, who have constructed a 
path it almost might be called a carriage- 
road half a mile into the cave. 

Over this path, ringing with sonorous clang 
to every footstep, facing full to the east yet 
what an east! an Orient that never knew a 
dawn the thunder roaring behind us, (for 
the storm has at last burst,) and the gust of 
the cave murmuring hollow in front, we 
trudge along; until, sixty paces from the drip 
ping-spring, we find ourselves at the Nar 
rows, where the roof is but seven or eight 
feet high, and the width of the cave not 
much greater. The passage has been still 
further contracted by a wall built up by the 
miners, leaving only a narrow door-way, that 
was formerly provided with a leaf to exclude 
the cold air of winter. Here, if the nervous 
visiter has not been appalled at the entrance, 
he will perhaps be dismayed by the furious 
blast rushing like a winter tempest through 
the door. Its strength is indeed astonishing. 
It deprives him of breath, and, what is worse, 
of light; the torches are blown out; they are 
relighted and again extinguished: we must 
grope our way through in the dark, and trust 
to flint and steel. It is done: once through 


the narrow door, and the wind appals no 
longer. All is calm and still, a few feet with 
in the wall; it is only at the contracted gap 
that we feel the fury of the current. In the 
winter, or at any other period of cold weather, 
the blast is reversed; the current is then in 

There are numerous caves in America, as 
well as in other parts of the world, which 
exhibit the phenomena of the blast; and this 
has usually been reckoned one of their chief 
wonders. It has given rise among philoso 
phers to a deal of fanciful theory, which, 
perhaps, would never have been indulged in, 
had not observers in the first place mystified 
the whole subject by recording facts that only 
existed in their imagination. Thus, some 
caves are said to blow in and out, without 
much regard to the state of the weather, a won 
der which was only to be explained by suppos 
ing the existence of intermitting fountains 
that is,of vast pools alternately rising and fall 
ing, and so, by increasing or diminishing the 
space within, expelling or inhaling the air; 
while others again were reported to blow out 
perpetually as in the case of the cave at the 
Panther Gap in Virginia, described by Mr. 
Jefferson. This cave Mr. Jefferson, I 


think, could never have seen, as he describes 
it (in very loose terns, it must be confessed) 
as having an entrance " of about one hun 
dred feet diameter;" whereas all travellers 
represent the outlet as being quite small. 
Allowing that he describes it on mere hear 
say, we need attach no great weight to his 
assertion, that the current " is strongest in dry, 
frosty weather, and weakest in long spells of 
rain." That it does blow in the summer is 
well ascertained; that it blows at all in win 
ter, I feel strongly disposed to doubt, hav 
ing heard that part of the story contradicted 
by a person residing in the neighbourhood of 
the Gap. Our opinion is, that all caves of 
any magnitude blow; that the blast becomes 
perceptible only when the outlet is very small; 
that it is in all caves alike the blast being 
outward in hot, and inward in cold weather; 
and that to understand the mystery, nothing 
more is required than to place a candle in a 
door communicating betwixt a very warm 
and a very cold room, holding it first near 
the floor, when a cold current will be found 
rushing into the warm room, and then near 
the lintel, where a warm current will be 
found rushing out. In other words, we think 
that there is a double current flowing, Medi- 


terranean-wise, at the mouth of every cave, 
and flowing always, except when the tem 
peratures within and without are the same; 
a cold current at the bottom rushing out in 
summer, and in during the winter, and a warm 
one above flowing in the contrary direction, 
a perpetual circulation of air being thus kept 
up. This is an idea, which, being too sim 
ple and natural to be readily conceived, did 
not occur to us when it was in our power to 
verify or disprove it at the Mammoth Cave, 
as we had many opportunities to do. Our 
mind, in fact, on all such occasions, was en 
gaged with a sublimer idea. We thought of 
musical strings a great ^Eolian lyre 
stretched across the door, and waked to ma 
jestic music by the breath of the cave such 
solemn strains as were poured by the " inge 
nious instrument" of Belarius over the dy 
ing Imogen. 

Bur we have passed the windy gap, and 
are in the cave, where all is silence and tran 
quillity. The thunder is still raving in the 
upper air, but its peals already come faintly 
to the ear: a few more steps and they will be 
inaudible. With a rock a hundred feet thick 
over our heads, we can defy their fury, and 
forget it. Armies of a hundred thousand 


men might fight a Waterloo on the hills 
above, and we know nothing of it. At least, 
we should hear neither drum nor trumpet, 
nor sound of artillery; though cascades of 
blood, falling where we are to find only cas 
cades of water, might impart the hideous se 
cret. Our torches are relighted, making 

/' A little glooming light, much like a shade," 

which we take care to direct to the sounding 
floor, to watch our footing, satisfied, after 
one or two eager efforts to penetrate the 
gloom that has now invested us, that nothing 
is to be seen until we have got out cave eyes. 
We catch, to be sure, a dim glance, now and 
then, of a low roof almost touching our heads, 
of two rugged walls that are ever and anon 
rude to our elbows; one of them that is, 
one of the walls the workmanship of Nature 
herself, though of Nature in no pains-taking 
mood, the other piled up on the left hand by 
the nitre-diggers of old, who were thus wont 
to dispose of the loose rocks that came in 
their way. You are sensible you are thrid- 
ding a path as narrow as the road of Ho 


" A strait so narrow, 
Where one but goes abreast ;" 

and you begin to have your doubts whether 
the Mammoth Cave is, after all, all it has been 
represented to be. You get tired even of 
admiring the musical ringings of the guide's 
footsteps on the hard earthen floor; you are 
sure you have trudged a quarter of a mile 
already, (the guide assures you, half a mile,) 
along this dismal, low, narrow, stupid pas 
sage; you become impatient; you demand "if 
there is nothing better to be seen;" and the 
guide, answering by bidding you look to your 
footing which, however, you are doing of 
your own accord, the path having suddenly 
become broken at last directs you to pause, 
and look around. What now do you see? 

What now do we see? Midnight the 
blackness of darkness nothing! Where are 
we? where is the wall we were lately elbow 
ing out of the way? [t has vanished, it is 
lost; we are walled in by darkness, and dark 
ness canopies us above. Look again; swing 
your torches aloft! Ay, now you can see it, 
far up, a hundred feet above your head, a gray 
ceiling rolling dimly away like a cloud; and 
heavy buttresses, bending under the weight, 
curling and toppling over their base, begin to 
VOL. n. 8 


project their enormous masses from the sha 
dowy wall. How vast, how solemn, how 
awful! And how silent, how dreadfully si 
lent ! The little bells of the brain are ringing 
in your ears; you hear nothing else, not even 
a sigh of air, not even the echo of a drop of 
water falling from the roof. The guide tri 
umphs in your looks of amazement and awe, 
he takes advantage of your feelings all so 
solemn and romantic: '* Them that says the 
Mammoth ain't a rale tear-cat don't know 
nothing about it!" 

With which truly philosophic interjection, 
he falls to work on certain old wooden ruins, 
to you yet invisible, and builds a brace or 
two of fires; by the aid of which you begin 
to have a better conception of the scene 
around you. You are in the Vestibule, or 
ante-chamber, to which the spacious entrance 
of the cave and the narrow passage that 
succeeds it, should be considered the mere 
gateway and covered approach. It is a ba 
silica of an oval figure, two hundred feet in 
length by one hundred and fifty wide, with a 
roof, which is as flat and level as if finished 
by the trowel of the plasterer, of fifty or six 
ty, or even more, feet in height. Two pas 
sages, each a hundred feet in width, open 


into it at its opposite extremities, but in right 
angles to each other; and as they preserve a 
straight course for five or six hundred feet, 
with the same flat roof common to each, the 
appearance to the eye is that of a vast hall 
in shape of the letter L, expanded at the 
angle, both branches being five hundred feet 
long by a hundred wide. The passage on 
the right hand is the Great Bat Room ; that 
in front, the beginning of the Grand Gallery, 
or the main cavern itself. The whole of this 
prodigious space is covered by a single rock, 
in which the eye can detect no break or in 
terruption, save at its borders, where is a 
broad sweeping cornice, traced in horizontal 
panel-work, exceedingly noble and regular; 
and not a single pier or pillar of any kind 
contributes to support it. It needs no sup 
port ; it is like the arched and ponderous 
roof of the poet's mausoleum, 

" By its own weight made steadfast and immoveable." 

The floor is very irregularly broken, consist 
ing of vast heaps of the nitrous earth, and of 
the ruins of the hoppers, or vats, composed 
of heavy planking, in which the miners were 
accustomed to leach it. This hall was, in 


fact, one of their chief factory rooms. Before 
their day, it was a cemetery; and here they 
disinterred many a mouldering skeleton, be 
longing, it seems, to that gigantic eight or 
nine feet race of men of past days, whose 
jaw-bones so many thousand veracious per 
sons have clapped over their own, like horse- 
collars, without laying by a single one to 
convince the soul of scepticism. 

Such is the Vestibule of the Mammoth 
Cave a hall which hundreds of visitors have 
passed through without being conscious of 
its existence. The path leading into the 
Grand Gallery hugs the wall on the left hand, 
and is, besides, in a hollow, flanked on the 
right hand by lofty mounds of earth, which 
the visiter, if he looks at them at all, as he 
will scarcely do at so early a period after 
entering, will readily suppose to be the oppo 
site walls. Those who enter the Bat Rooms 
into which flying visiters are seldom con 
ducted will indeed have some faint suspicion, 
for a moment, that they are passing through 
infinite space; but the walls of the cave being 
so dark as not to reflect one single ray of 
light from the dim torches, and a greater 
number of them being necessary to disperse 
the gloom than are usually employed, they 


will still remain in ignorance of the grandeur 
around them. In an attempt which we made 
to secure a drawing of the Vestibule, we had 
it lighted up with a dozen or more torches 
and flambeaux, and two or three bonfires be 
side; but still the obscurity was so great that 
it was necessary, in sketching any one part, 
to have the torches for the time held before 
it. It was, in fact, impossible to light it up 
so as to embrace all its striking features in 
one view. We saw enough of it, however, 
to determine its quality. It possesses not 
one particle of beauty; but its grandeur, its 
air of desolation combined with majesty, are 
unspeakably impressive. 







BUT let us enter the Bat Rooms the Big 
Bat room and the Little one the latter be 
ing a narrow branch of the former, remark 
able only for its two pits, one of which, the 
Crevice Pit, is the deepest that has been 
measured in the whole cave. 

The Big Bat Room is about one third of a 
mile long, counting from its entrance, which 
is not half a mile as is generally supposed, 
but just three hundred yards from the mouth 
of the cave. It is interesting only from its 
width and height, which it preserves nearly 
to the end unimpaired. It terminates in 
mounds of massive sandstone, that, with the 
assistance of water ever dripping through 


them, have crushed in the roof, leaving a 
shadowy dome above them. The Little Bat 
Room opens in its left wall, six or seven hun 
dred feet from the Vestibule. It is long, 
winding, low, and deep; and was once the 
bed of a torrent that has worn its walls into 
a thousand figures, with numerous winding 
holes which lead perhaps into other caverns, 
but are too small to be entered. It is now 
dry, like other parts of the cave, and black 
ened by age, or by the smoke of the torches 
of the ancient inhabitants of the cave and the 
miners. Within but a few feet of its extre 
mity, there are two low-browed niches, one 
in each wall, nearly opposite each other, the 
blackest, ugliest looking places in the whole 
world, particularly that on the left hand, 
which is a hundred times blacker and uglier 
than the other. One feels an instinctive hor 
ror of this place at the very first look, and 
perceives a crab-like inclination in his legs 
to sidle away from it, if not to beat a retreat 
altogether. There never was better occasion 
for instinct. Under that niche, down to 
which the rocky floor you stand on so treache 
rously inclines, is a pit three hundred feet 
deep ay, by'r lady! and perhaps three times 
three hundred more to the back of them, if 


not three times three thousand who can 
tell? Mr. Lee struck bottom at two hundred 
and eighty feet; but, as in the case of the 
Bottomless Pit, to be spoken of hereafter, a 
stone thrown down tells quite another story. 
Bang, bang, rattle, rattle, bang, bang again, 
down it goes; now loud, now low, now loud 
again, and then softer and softer, until the 
sound gradually becomes inaudible. One 
false step on this villarious floor, and the thing 
is settled. You roll over, as a matter of 
course; and, as another matter of course, 
that hideous niche receives you into its jaws, 
ever gaping for prey, like the jaws of a sleep 
ing alligator in fly time; and then comes the 
plunge of the three hundred feet, the crashing 
of bone and flesh, the pah ! 

But let us sit down by its brink; the guide 
has many a wild and dreary story to tell, 
which can be best told in such a place as 

And, first, he tells us that this identical 
abyss the Crevice Pit, as it is called 
sounded by Mr. Lee in 1835, with a string 
having a stone tied to the end of it, was 
sounded, many a long year before, by the 
miners, pretty much in the same way; only 
that, instead of a stone to the string, they 


had a young negro tied to the end of it. 
However, this highly original plummet, it 
appears, was tied on with its own consent, 
the lad being a bold romantic fellow, ambi 
tious to signalize himself by a daring exploit, 
and perhaps a brilliant discovery. Down, 
therefore, into the pit they lowered him; 
though with an effect singularly resembling 
that attending the Knight of La Mancha's 
descent into the cave of Montesinos. The 
rope suddenly became light, its burden had 
vanished; though, in due course of time, it 
again felt heavy in the hands of the miners, 
who, drawing- it up, found the adventurer at 
its end as before. Some very wondrous 
story he told them, with great glee, of his 
having discovered, fifty or sixty feet below, 
a spacious and splendid cave, in which he 
had walked; but as he never after could be, 
by any persuasions, induced to attempt a 
second descent, it was thought he had imita 
ted Don Quixote to the letter, ensconced 
himself on the first convenient ledge or shelf, 
and dreamed the remainder of the adven 

The Mammoth Cave, as I observed, was 
wrought for saltpetre during the last w r ar, 
when the price of that article was so high, 


and the profits of the manufacturer so great, 
as to set half the western world gadding 
after nitre caves the gold mines of their 
day. Cave hunting, in fact, became a kind 
of mania, beginning with speculators, and 
ending with hair-brained young men, who 
dared from the love of adventure the risks 
that others ran for profit. As might be ex 
pected, this passion was not always indulged 
without accident; and several caves in Ken 
tucky and Tennessee obtained a mournful ce 
lebrity as the scenes of painful suffering and dis 
aster. In some cases, caves have been entered 
by explorers who were never again known to 
leave them, and around whose fate yet hangs 
the deepest mystery. Accidents, not at 
tended with loss of life, were of frequent oc 
currence; and, as for frights, they were lumped 
together in report, in the style of a consta 
ble's inventory, as too tedious to mention. 

Among the tragical incidents illustrative 
of the time and the mania, told by the guide 
at the Crevice Pit, the following I consider 
worthy of being recorded, and the more so 
as it occurred within the immediate vicinity, 
and had therefore gained nothing by 

" Travelling with increase from mouth to mouth." 


Four or five miles from the Mammoth 
Cave, a few paces from the bridle-path over 
the Knobs, by which the visiter coming from 
Bell's at the Three Forks, reaches it, is a 
cave known as the Pit Cave, though some 
times called, I believe, Wright's Cave, after 
the name of the person who first attempted 
to explore it. This man was a speculator, 
who having some reason to believe the cave 
a valuable one, resolved to examine it; but 
possessing little knowledge of caves and less 
of the business of the nitre-maker, he applied 
to Mr. Gatewood, the proprietor of the works 
at the Mammoth Cave, and of course 'expe 
rienced in both these particulars, to assist 
him in the search. A day was accordingly 
appointed, on which Mr. Gatewood agreed 
to meet him at the cave, and conduct the ex 
ploration in person. But on that day, as it 
happened, there arose a furious storm of rain 
and thunder; and Mr. Gatewood, not sup 
posing that even Wright himself would, under 
such circumstances, keep the appointment, 
remained at his own works. In the mean 
while, however, Wright had reached the cave, 
in company with another man, a miner, though 
of no great experience in cave-hunting; and 
with him, finding that Mr. Gatewood did not 


come, and having made all his preparations, 
he resolved to undertake the exploration him 
self. This the two men commenced, and 
pursued for several hours without accident 
and without fear, seeing, indeed, nothing to 
excite alarm, except a cluster of very danger 
ous pits, which they passed while engaged in 
the search. But by and by, having consumed 
much time in rambling about, they dis 
covered that by some extraordinary oversight, 
they had left their store of candles at the 
mouth of the cave, having brought in w^ith 
them only those they carried in their hands, 
which were now burning low. The horrors 
of their situation at once flashed on their 
minds; they were at a great distance from 
the entrance, which there was little hope they 
could reach with what remained of their 
candles, and the terrible pits were directly on 
their path. It was thought, however, that if 
they could succeed in passing these, it might 
be possible to grope their way from the cave 
in the dark, as the portion beyond the pits 
offered no unusual interruptions, and was 
without branches. The attempt was made; 
and as desperation gave speed to their feet, 
they had, at last, the inexpressible satisfac 
tion to reach the pits, and to pass them in 


safety, leaving them several hundred feet be 
hind, ere their lights entirely failed. But now 
began their difficulties. In the confusion and 
agitation of mind which beset them at the 
moment when the last candle expired, they 
neglected to set their faces firmly towards 
the entrance; and in consequence, when dark 
ness at last suddenly surrounded them, they 
were bewildered and at variance, Wright 
vehemently insisting that they should pro 
ceed in one direction, the miner contending 
with equal warmth that the other was the 
right one. The violence of Wright prevail 
ed over the doubts of his follower, who al 
lowed himself to be governed by the former, 
especially when the desperate man offered to 
lead the way, so as to be the first to encoun 
ter the pits, supposing he should be wrong. 
An expedient for testing the safety of the 
path, which Wright hit upon, had also its 
effect on his companion's mind; he proposed, 
as he crawled along on his hands and feet 
the only way they dare attempt to proceed in 
the dark over the broken floor to throw 
stones before him, by means of which it would 
be easy to tell when a pit lay in the way. The 
miner, accordingly, though with many mis 
givings, suffered himself to be ruled, and fol- 

VOL. II. 9 


lowed at Wright's heels, the latter every mo 
ment hurling a stone before him, and at every 
throw uttering some hurried exclamation, now 
a prayer, now a word of counsel or encour 
agement to his companion, though always ex 
pressive of the deepest agitation and disorder 
of mind. They had proceeded in this way 
for several moments, until even the miner 
himself, believing that if they were in error, 
they had crawled far enough to reach the pits, 
became convinced his employer was in the 
right path; when suddenly the clang of one of 
the stones cast by Wright, falling as if on the 
solid floor, was succeeded by a rushing sound, 
the clatter of loose rocks rolling down a de 
clivity, and then a heavy hollow crash at a 
depth beneath. He called to Wright; no an 
swer was returned; all was dismal silence; 
not even a groan from the wretched employer 
replied to the call. His fate the terrified mi 
ner understood in a moment: the first of the 
pits was, at one part of its brink, shelving; 
on the declivity thus formed, the stone cast 
by Wright had lodged; but Wright had slip 
ped from it into the pit, and slipped so sud 
denly as not to have time to utter even one 
cry of terror. The miner, overcome with 
horror, after calling again and again without 


receiving any answer, or hearing any sound 
whatever, turned in the opposite direction, and 
endeavoured to effect his own escape from 
the cave. He wandered about many hours, 
now sinking down in despair, now struggling 
again for life; until at last yielding to his fate 
in exhaustion of mind and body, incapable of 
making any further exertions, a sudden ray 
of light sparkled in his face. He rushed for 
ward it was the morning-star shining through 
the mouth of the cave ! The alarm was im 
mediately given. Mr. Gatewood, with a 
party of his labourers, hurried to the cave 
and to the pit, on whose shelving edge 
were seen evidences enough of some heavy 
body having lately rolled into it. The offer 
of a reward conquered the terror of one of 
the workmen, who was lowered with ropes 
to the bottom of the pit, a depth of fifty or 
sixty feet; and Wright's lifeless body was 
drawn out. 

The above tragical incident I have heard 
confirmed by the lips of several different per 
sons ; one of whom, however, contested the 
right of the morning-star to figure in it; 
affirming that the miner made his way out 
before night, and that it was the light of day, 
shining at a distance like a star, which gave 


rise to that poetical embellishment. I believe 
he was right. It is thus, like a star the 
loveliest of all the lamps that spangle the 
vault of night that daylight breaks from 
afar upon the adventurer, returning from the 
depths of the Mammoth Cave. 







AMONG other stories told at the Crevice 
Pit, was one wild, and terrible enough, if 
true of a man who, in former days, was 
master of a little tavern on a public road, 
some twenty miles off; at which place of en 
tertainment, it began to be remarked by the 
neighbours, more travellers called than were 
ever known to leave it. Immediately behind 
the house, not fifty yards from the road, is a 
cavern, which, if its interior corresponds with 
its entrance, must be of uncommon grandeur. 
It opens from the level ground, by a sink or 
declivity like that of the Mammoth Cave; 
but the descent is much less precipitous, as 


well as wider arid longer, making a wild little 
glen, studded with rocks, bushes, and trees, 
that terminates under a vast, marble-looking 
arch, the mouth of the cave. The view from 
this mouth, looking back to the glen, is inex 
pressibly grand and beautiful a vista, or 
picture, one might fancy, of a waste nook of 
Paradise, set or framed in a grotto-work of 
stone. The cavern is said to continue only 
for about a hundred yards, when it is sud- 
derly lost in a vast pit of unknown depth. 

The keeper of the Cave Inn the story re 
presents as a dark villain, accustomed to rob 
and murder all travellers rich enough to re 
ward his trouble; for which purpose, as well 
as for that of concealment, the cave behind the 
house afforded him unusual facilities. His plan 
of proceedings, when he had resolved the death 
of a traveller, was, first, under the plea of 
looking after the victim's horse, before going 
to bed, to lead the animal from the stable 
into the cave, and force him into the pit; then, 
with an appearance of concern, to inform the 
traveller his beast had strayed into the cave 
among the rocks, whence he could not remove 
him without assistance; and thus obtain the 
latter to accompany him into the infernal den; 
where, arriving at the chasm, a sudden blow 


or push precipitated the human victim also 
into the gulf, and with him all evidence of the 
crime by which he had perished. 

This horrible story I afterwards heard re 
peated by other persons, some of whom de 
clared that the innkeeper's villany had been 
finally brought to light by the confessions of 
an agonized wife, the witness, though not the 
accomplice, of his murders ; while others 
thought that his guilt rested merely upon sus 
picion, for which the sudden disappearance 
of several travellers unfortunately gave too 
many grounds. I must confess that none of 
rny informants were very positive in their 
modes of telling the story, and none able to 
vouch for its truth ; while one cautious, or 
judicious, personage professed an entire dis 
belief in the innkeeper's guilt, hinting that 
the whole story had grown out of the wild 
prattling of a woman, the poor man's wife, 
who was, in the narrator's opinion, a mere 
unhappy lunatic. The tale, however, had 
currency enough to give the suspected man 
trouble, and he soon afterwards left the coun 
try, and was no more heard of. 

But let us retrace our steps to the Vesti 
bule; let us enter the Grand Gallery; for 


have yet much to see or rather, we have all 
to see and much to hear. 

The Grand Gallery is a hundred feet wide, 
with an average height of forty or fifty. Its 
roof is, for the most part, flat and regular; its 
walls broken by massive buttresses, that here 
and there stare out of the gloom, and salute 
us with a rocky frown. Fancy traces among 
them a thousand majestic resemblances to 
scenes recollected, or imagined, in the exter 
nal world. On the right hand, we see the 
Rocky Mountains the Chippewyan in little, 
without the superfluous caps of snow; on the 
left, the Cliffs of Kentucky excellent like 
nesses all, as far as crags fifty feet high, bare 
and desolate, and shrouded in never-ending 
night, can resemble cliffs of three hundred 
feet, adorned with trees and flowers, shining 
like marble in the brave sunshine, and glass 
ing their beauty in the crystal river below. 
Among these Kentucky cliffs, just under the 
ceiling, is a gap in the wall, into which you 
can scramble, and make your way down a 
chaotic gulf, creeping like a rat under and 
among huge loose rocks, to a depth of eighty 
or ninety feet that is, you can do all this, 
provided you do not break your neck before 
you get half way. 


A hundred yards further on, the roof sud 
denly sinks somewhat, forming an inclined 
plane, on which clouds seem to float as in a 
midnight sky. And here Nature, who, in 
these same clouds, proves that she is not so 
good a painter below the earth as she is 
above, has scooped out a spacious cove on 
the left hand, as wide and high as the Grand 
Gallery into which it opens, but of little more 
than a hundred feet in extent. Here, among 
rude rocks, has been constructed a still ruder 
altar a wooden desk, or pulpit; from which, 
while torches shone around from crag to 
crag, the preacher has proclaimed the word 
of God, and the voices of a congregation 
have arisen in solemn hosannas. The ser 
vices of worship in such a place must have 
been strangely and profoundly impressive. It 
is a cathedral which, man feels, has been piled, 
not by the art of man, but by the will of his 
Maker. But it is a place to inculcate reli 
gious fear, rather than pious affection. 

Another hundred yards beyond the Church 
for so the cove of the pulpit is called and 
you find yourself again among the ruins of 
nitre works. The spacious floor is occupied 
with vats filled in with earth, which is now, 
however, beginning to sink, giving to the 


place somewhat the air of an ancient and 
neglected cemetery a cemetery of Brobdig- 
nags. A tall frame-work of timbers, that 
once supported a forcing pump, is yet stand 
ing in the midst. Opposite to it, a ladder is 
seen resting against the right hand Wall. 
Looking up, you perceive a gap in the wall 
fifty feet wide, and twenty high, with several 
huge rocks lying in it, one of them looking 
like a tower commanding the savage pass. 
This is the entrance of the Haunted Cham 








WE have arrived, then, at the entrance of 
the Haunted Chambers a distance of barely 
half a mile from the mouth of the cave; and 
we have still seven or eight miles of wonders 
before us. To describe these in detail would 
be an endless undertaking, and, to the reader 
a dull and unprofitable one as no descrip 
tion, however minute, could possibly convey 
accurate ideas of them. In fact, an extended 
description of a cave would, in any case, 
prove wearisome. The components the 
elements of caves are few and simple rocks, 
stalactites, pools, pits, and darkness make up 


all their variety; and however interestingly,, 
and even variously, these may be combined 
to the eye of an actual spectator, the de 
scriptions of them must consist of repetitions 
of the same words of changes rung over 
and over again upon the same ideas. My 
aim is, therefore, not so much to describe the 
Mammoth Cave in detail, as to present a 
general idea of it, pausing to dwell, here and 
there, upon features that are most important 
and interesting, and upon the impressions 
produced by them on the visiter's mind. 

But let us, before resuming our explora 
tions, say a word of the atmosphere of the 
cave; which, having been, at the entrance, 
pronounced so icy, it may be feared, still re 
tains its hyperborean character. It is icy, 
however, as we soon discover, only by con 
trast. The transition from an atmosphere 
of 90 or 95 degrees without, into one of 
about 55 or 60 within the cave, may well 
make us shiver for a moment. The average 
temperature of the Mammoth Cave is about 
58 degrees Fahr. In summer it rises a few 
degrees higher, and in winter sinks as many 
below. It is, therefore, always temperate. 
Its purity, judging from its effects upon the 
lungs, and from other circumstances, is re- 


markable, though in what its purity consists 
I know not. But be its composition what it 
may, it is certain, that its effects upon the 
spirits and bodily powers of visitors are ex 
tremely exhilarating; and that it is not less 
salubrious than enlivening. The nitre-diggers 
were a famously healthy set of men: it was a 
common and humane practice to employ 
labourers of enfeebled constitutions, who were 
soon restored to health and strength, though 
kept at constant labour; and more joyous, 
merry fellows were never seen. The oxen, 
of which several were kept, day and night, in 
the cave hauling the nitrous earth, were, after 
a month or two of toil, in as fine condition 
for the shambles as if fattened in the stall. 
The ordinary visiter, though rambling a 
dozen hours or more over paths of the rough 
est and most difficult kinds, is seldom con 
scious of fatigue, until he returns to the upper 
air; and then it seems to him, at least in the 
summer season, that he has exchanged the 
atmosphere of paradise for that of a charnel 
warmed by steam, all, without, is so heavy, 
so dank, so dead, so mephitic. Awe, and 
even apprehension, if that has been felt, soon 
yield to the influence of the delicious air of 
the cave; and, after a time, a-certain jocund 
VOL. ii. 10 


feeling is found mingled with the deepest im 
pressions of sublimity, which there are so 
many objects to awake. I recommend all 
broken-hearted lovers and dyspeptic dandies 
to carry their complaints to the Mammoth 
Cave, where they will undoubtedly find them 
selves " translated" into very buxom and 
happy persons, before they are aware of it. 

In the Grand Gallery, opposite the en 
trance of the Haunted Chambers, are, as was 
previously mentioned, the ruins of the old 
nitre-works leaching-vats, pump frames,and 
lines of wooden pipes. Of the last there are 
two different ranges, one of which was for- 

O 7 

merly used for bringing fresh water from the 
dripping-spring to the vats; the other for forc 
ing it, when saturated with the salt, back to 
the furnaces at the mouth of the cave. These 
pipes, now mouldering with dry-rot, serve at 
present no other purpose than to amuse visi- 
ters; they are acoustical telegraphs, through 
which the adventurer who has penetrated so 
far, can transmit to his more timid friend at 
the entrance an assurance that he is yet in 
safety. A whisper bears the intelligence: 
even a sigh, breathed into the tube, falls as 
distinctly on the ear half a mile off as if the 


friend who breathed it were reclining at the 
listener's elbow. 

At this place, the roof of the Grand Gal 
lery, perhaps thirty or thirty-five feet high, 
suddenly rises to about the height of fifty, 
which it however preserves for a distance of 
only fifty or sixty feet, when it again sinks to 
its former level. The break thus made in 
the ceiling, forms a part of the continuous 
lines of the Haunted Chambers, which may 
be considered as an independent cave, run 
ning at right angles with the Mammoth, and 
above it; although, dipping downward, as it 
crosses from right to left, it has broken 
through into the latter. It can be entered 
only on the right hand, where it opens in the 
wall, fifteen or more feet from the floor; a 
wide and lofty passage, cumbered with rocks, 
the chief of which is the Tower Rock, a 
massive block, that looks, when viewed from 
below, the guide perched, flambeau in hand, 
on the top, like some old Saxon strong-hold 
not yet in ruins. You see this cave con 
tinued also on the left hand, w r here is a gap 
in the wall still wider and higher, but choked 
up by an immense mound of coarse sand 
and gravel, impacted and hardened by time, 
which has entirely obliterated the passage. 


Curiosity has not yet attempted to dig a 
path through this barrier, heaped up by some 
mighty flood of old days; though a few hours' 
labor might perhaps disclose a new batch of 
wonders and mysteries. Clambering up the 
huge sand-heap, till you reach what from 
below seemed the ceiling, you perceive on 
one hand a broad cornice-work like that seen 
in the Vestibule, which runs from the choked- 
up passage clear across the Grand Gallery, 
until it is lost in the entrance of the Haunted 
Chambers opposite. Surveying this cornice- 
work more closely, you find that it consists 
of a broad horizontal plate of rock, forming 
a gallery, or bridge, by which you may walk 
across the Grand Gallery, immediately under 
its roof, into the Haunted Chambers, land 
ing on the top of the Tower Rock. But it 
is an Al-Sirat, a bridge for disembodied 
spirits, rather than mortals of flesh and bone, 
to traverse. It has an ugly inclination or 
dip downwards, and looks as if expressly 
contrived for dropping ambitious personages 
into the horrible profound below 7 . Shall we 
enter the Haunted Chambers by this highway 
of the dauntless the Bridge Gallery, so nar 
row, so treacherous, so dizzy? Not if we 
were as solidipous as an elephant; not if we 


had air-pumps to our feet, like lizards and 
house-flies. The broad ladder laid against 
the wall, rickety and somewhat rungless 
though it be, and leading humbly, a lubber- 
way, to the foot of the Tower, is more to 
our own taste. It is but six or seven well- 
stretched steps from rung to rung, and we 
are in the Haunted Chambers, whose name 
itself fills us with expectant awe. 

Our guide leaves us to admire alone the 
gulf-like abyss of the Grand Gallery, now 
under our feet; he has stolen away in ad 
vance, and his steps are no longer heard clat 
tering along the rocky path. But hark! what 
sound is that, like the deep bell of a cathe 
dral, or the gong of a theatre, booming in the 
distance, peal after peal, clang after clang, 
so solemn, so wild, so strange? A walk, 
with a few stumbles and tumbles we have 
not yet our cave-legs (there are cave-legs as 
well as sea-legs) reveals the mystery; and 
we discover our conductor standing under a 
pendent stalactite, thumping it with great en 
thusiasm and a big stone, and filling the sur- 
sounding vaults with the clangour of his flinty 
drum. This is one of the many bells (so 
called) which the Mammoth Cave, in com 
mon with most other caves, possesses. 


We have reached, then, the abode of stalac 
tites? Ay, here they are, pillars old and dry 
(for the oozing springs that formed them 
have long since vanished), venerable and 
majestic columns, once perhaps white and 
ghastly, like so many giants in winding-sheets, 
but now black, withered, and mummy-like, 
begrimed with smoke, that has been fasten 
ing around them for many generations. Here 
we see them in groves, looking like the trunks 
of an old forest at midnight, the rough con 
cretions on the low roof seeming not unlike 
the umbrage of thick-matted boughs; there 
they appear singly, or in cosy family groups 
Niobe and her children, Dian and her 
nymphs, or any such mythologic party that 
Nature, like an idle sculptor, began, a thou 
sand years ago, to hew out of stone, without, 
however, hewing enough to enable us to guess 
what might have been her real intentions. 

The name of the Haunted Chambers, how 
ever poetical it may be, is incorrect, inas 
much as it conveys the idea of a series of 
different chambers; whereas this branch of 
the cave consists of but a single passage, 
fifty or sixty feet wide and half a mile long, 
leading to a lower branch, which is of equal 
extent, though of inferior w idth. The whole 


length of the Haunted Chambers is, therefore, 
one mile. The upper branch is chiefly re 
markable on account of its stalactites; at the 
foot of one of which the Arm-chair, as it is 
called, from having a very royal seat hol 
lowed in its side is a little basin or pool of 
stone, that once received a drip of water 
strongly charged with sulphur, from the roof 
above. It is now dry, the spring having 
gradually sealed up the crack through which 
it formerly flowed. Another remarkable fea 
ture of this branch is seen in its ceiling, which, 
except in the immediate neighbourhood of the 
stalactitic formations, where it is studded over 
with concretions of all imaginable shapes, 
is surprisingly flat and smooth, and in some 
places white, looking as if it had been actu 
ally finished off by the plasterer. This is 
particularly observable in a place called the 
Register Room, where, the roof being low 
enough for the purpose, visiters frequently 
trace tbeir names with the smoke of a candle; 
and many hundreds of such records of vanity 
are already to be seen deforming the ceiling. 
Its smoothness is owing to an incrustation or 
deposit of calcareous matter on the surface of 
the rock; though how it could ever be de 
posited so regularly may well be wondered. 



Within two hundred yards of the termina 
tion of this Upper Branch of the Haunted 
Chambers, the visiter finds himself suddenly 
plunging down a steep of loose red sand, 
poetically entitled the Lover's Leap, into a 
hollow; at the bottom of which, in the left 
hand wall, is a very narrow but lofty fissure, 
the Devil's Elbow, winding through the wall 
and leading into the Lower Branch; where, 
under the roots of the stalactites that pillar 
the branch above, he may spend an hour 
or two among domes, pits, and sounding 
springs thatcome spouting or showering down 
from the roof, with the name, if not the gran 
deur and beauty, of waterfalls. The great 
Dome or Bonaparte's Grand Dome, as the 
guides delight to call it is a lofty excavation, 
in figure of a truncated cone, in the solid 
roof, from which a prodigious mass of rocks 
must have fallen to make it. These rocks 
are, however, no where to be seen; the floor 
is flat and solid below. They must have been 
swept away by some raging flood; or, it may 
be, that there was formerly, below the dome, 
a pit, into which they fell, the pit being thus 
filled up, and its entrance gradually oblite 
rated by incrustation. 

The Haunted Chambers are said to owe 


their name to an adventure that befell one of 
the miners in former days, which is thus re 
lated. In the Lower Branch is a room called 
the Salts Room, which produces considerable 
quantities of the Sulphate of Magnesia, or of 
Soda, we forget which a mineral that the 
proprietor of the cave did not fail to turn to 
account. The miner in question was a new 
and raw hand of course neither very well ac 
quainted with the cave itself, nor with the ap 
proved modes of averting or repairing acci 
dents, to which, from the nature of their oc 
cupation, the miners were greatly exposed. 
Having been sent, one day, in charge of an 
older workman, to the Salts Room to dig a 
few sacks of the salt, and finding that the path 
to this sequestered nook was pefectly plain, 
and that, from the Haunted Chambers being 
a single,continuous passage, without branches, 
it was impossible to wander from it, our hero 
disdained, on his second visit, to seek or accept 
assistance, and trudged off to his work alone. 
The circumstance being common enough, he 
was speedily forgotten by his brother miners; 
and it was not until several hours after, when 
they all left off their toil for the more agree 
able duty of eating their dinner, that his ab 
sence was remarked, and his heroical resolu- 


tion to make his way alone to the Salts Room 
remembered. As it was apparent, from the 
time he had been gone, that some accident 
must have happened him, half a dozen men, the 
most of them negroes, stripped half naked, 
their usual working costume, were sent to 
hunt him up, a task supposed to be of no great 
difficulty, unless he had fallen into a pit. In 
the meanwhile, the poor miner, it seems, had 
succeeded in reaching the Salts Room, filling 
his sack, and retracing his steps half way 
back to the Grand Gallery; when, finding the 
distance greater than he thought it ought to 
be, the conceit entered his unlucky brain that 
he might perhaps be going wrong. No sooner 
had the suspicion struck him, than he fell into 
a violent terror, dropped his sack, ran back 
wards, then returned, then ran back again, 
each time more frightened and bewildered than 
before; until at last he ended his adventures by 
tumbling over a stone and extinguishing his 
lamp. Thus left in the dark,not knowing where 
to turn, frightened out of his wits besides, he 
fell to remembering his sins always remem 
bered by those who are lost in the Mammoth 
Cave and praying with all his might for 
succour. But hours passed away, and assis 
tance came not: the poor fellow's frenzy in- 


creased; he felt himself a doomed man, he 
thought his terrible situation was a judgment 
imposed on him for his wickedness; nay, he 
even believed, at last, that he was no longer 
an inhabitant of the earth that he had been 
translated, even in the body, to the place of 
torment in other words, that he was in hell 
itself, the prey of the devils, who would pre 
sently be let loose upon him. It was at this 
moment the miners in search of him made 
their appearance: they lighted upon his sack, 
lying where he had thrown it, and set up a 
great shout, which was the first intimation he 
had of their approach. He started up, and 
seeing them in the distance, the half-naked 
negroes in advance, all swinging their torches 

O O O 

aloft, he, not doubting they were those iden 
tical devils whose appearance he had been 
expecting, took to his heels, yelling lustily for 
mercy; nor did he stop, notwithstanding the 
calls of his amazed friends, until he had fall 
en a second time among the rocks, where he 
lay on his face, roaring for pity, until, by dint 
of much pulling and shaking, he was con 
vinced that he was still in the world and the 
Mammoth Cave. Such is the story they tell 
of the Haunted Chambers, the name having 
been given to commemorate the incident. 


This Salts Room contains a pit, if we can 
so call a huge domed chamber below, com 
municating with it by means of a narrow 
crack in the floor. The floor is here very 
thin, in fact, a mere scale of rock, but, fortu 
nately, rock of the most adamantine charac 
ter. By lowering down torches, and peeping 
through the crack, one dimly discerns the 
chamber below. Its floor is at a depth of 
fifty feet, and is composed of firm and dry 
sand or clay. It seems like the vestibule of 
a new set of chambers, which no one has yet 
explored. An attempt was made by our little 
party to examine it, by lowering the lightest 
individual of the company into the pit with 
ropes an enterprise that was baffled, and 
had nearly produced a fatal termination, 
in consequence of the rope's parting, or be 
ginning to part, at the moment when our ad 
venturous explorer was hanging midway 
down the pit. With a good rope, however, 
nothing would be more easy than to reach the 
bottom in safety. 








BUT let us resume our explorations in the 
Grand Gallery. 

Three hundred yards beyond the mouth of 
the Haunted Chambers, proceeding along this 
wide, lofty, ever frowning, and ever majestic 
highway, on the brow of a hill, you perceive, 
on the left hand, a broad chasm, reaching to 
the ceiling, its floor heaped with huge rocks, 
This is the Ruined, or Rocky Cave, extending 
a distance of a hundred and fifty yards, wide 
and high throughout, but its floor covered 
with blocks of stone of the most gigantic 
size, some exceeding twenty feet in cubic di 
mensions, and weighing six hundred tons. In 
VOL. n. 11 


this cave, spread out upon the path, you find 
a relic of the ancient inhabitants of the place. 
It is an Indian mat of bark, a cloak perhaps 
or a part of one, for it is only a fragment 
about a yard square. It may have covered, 
in its day, the shoulders of a warrior of re 
nown, or of a maiden, the pride and beauty 
of her clan; in which thought we will but 
look upon it, and pass it reverently by. 

A hundred yards further on, the Grand 
Gallery makes a majestic sweep to the right. 
Just where the curve begins, you see, lying 
against the right hand wall, a huge oblong 
rock, pointed at its further extremity like the 
prow of a ship. The Adam that gave names 
to the lions of the cave has christened this 
rock the Steamboat; and, it must be confess 
ed, that it looks very much like a steamboat, 
only that wheels, and wheel-houses are en 
tirely wanting; not to speak of smoke-stacks 
and the superstructure of cabins, pilot-boxes, 
and so on. It was some considerable period 
years, in fact after this Steamboat was 
observed reposing in her river of stone, before 
any curious person thought of peeping round 
her bows, to see what might be concealed 
behind them. The peep revealed an unanti 
cipated mystery. A narrow, but quite easy 


passage was discovered, leading into a cir 
cular room a hundred feet in diameter, with 
a low roof, and broken floor, hollowed like a 
bowl, covered with sand and gravel, in which 
floor were two different holes or pits, leading 
to unknown chambers below. This room is 
the Vestibule of the Deserted Chambers, but 
more frequently called, in allusion to its figure, 
the Wooden Bowl. The holes, which are so 
small as only to admit one person to creep 
down them at a time, are called the Dog and 
Snake Holes, and are, in many respects, wor 
thy of their names. By descending either of 
them to a depth of twenty or thirty feet, we 
find ourselves at once in the Deserted Cham 
bers to many the most impressive and ter 
rific portion of the cave. Here the visiter, if 
he has not felt bewildered before, finds him 
self at last in a labyrinth, from which no sa 
gacity or courage of his own could remove 
him a chaos of winding branches, once the 
beds of subterraneous torrents; and he almost 
dreads, at each step, to see the banished 
floods come roaring upon him from some 
midnight chamber. Now he beholds great 
rocks mighty flakes scaling from the roof 
hanging over him, in one place so low that 
he must stoop to pass under them, yet sus- 


pended to the roof only by an edge or a cor 
ner. What was the sword of Damocles to 
these treacherous traps, that would, anyone of 
them, provided it should fall, smash a rhino 
ceros with as much ease as a basket of eggs? 
The ram of a pile-engine were a falling fea 
ther in comparison. Now he startles aghast, 
as hollow echoes under his feet bespeak the 
dismal abyss from which he is separated only 
by a thin shell of floor. Now he stands 
trembling on the brink of a horrible chasm, 
down which the rock he has toppled goes 
crashing and rumbling to an immeasurable 
depth; or now listens, with little less of awe, 
at the verge of another, in which, far down, 
he can hear the obscure dashings of a water 
fall. Now he sits upon a crag perhaps 
alone for if he would, for once in his life, 
feel what solitude is, (a thing man knows 
nothing of, even in desert islands or the 
solitary cells of a prison,) here is the place 
to try the experiment with nameless pas 
sages yawning all around him, in a wilderness 
and desert such as his imagination never be 
fore dreamed of, reading such a lesson of his 
impotence and insignificance as not even the 
stars or the billows of the ocean can teach 
him. In short, the Deserted Chambers are 


terrific, chaotic, and not to be conceived of 
by those who have not seen them; for which 
reason I will not attempt the task of descrip 
tion. It may be observed, however, that 
they consist of three principal branches, one 
of which is nearly a mile long, another the 
third of a mile, the remaining one only three 
or four hundred yards; and that all three are 
full of pits, domes, and springs without num 
ber. The shortest branch contains three or 
four fearful pits. Over one of these, called 
the Side-saddle Pit, projects a rock, affording 
a very comfortable seat to any visiter who 
chooses to peep into the den of darkness be 
neath, or the dome arching above it. Another, 
a well of fourteen or fifteen feet diameter, is 
covered by a thin plate of rock, lying on it 
like the cover of a pot, though a cover some 
what too small for the vessel, and seemingly 
supported only at one point. This is both a 
very curious and a very dangerous pit. 

But the chief glory of this branch is the 
Bottomless Pit, so called, par excellence, and 
suspected by many to run pretty nearly 
through the whole diameter of the earth. 
The branch terminates in it, and the explorer 
suddenly finds himself brought up on its brink, 
standing upon a projecting platform, sur- 


rounded on three sides by darkness and ter 
ror, a gulf on the right hand, a gulf on the 
left, and before him what seems an intermi 
nable void. He looks aloft; but no eye has 
yet reached the top of the great overarching 
dome; nothing is there seen but the flashing 
of water dropping from above, and smiling, 
as it shoots by, in the unwonted gleam of 
the lamps. He looks below, and nothing 
there meets his glance, save darkness as 
thick as lamp-black; but he hears a wild, 
mournful melody of waters, the wailing of 
the brook for the green and sunny channel 
left in the upper world, never more to be re 
visited. Truly, as we sit upon the brink lis 
tening, the complaining of those plaintive 
drops doth breath a sad and woful melan 
choly into our inmost spirits, a nostalgic 
longing for the bright and beautiful world we 
have left behind us. Who could believe, in 
this dismal cave, that earth was otherwise 
than a paradise? that rogues and rascals 
made up a part of its population? No, our 
remembrance, here, is only of the good and 
pure, the just and gentle, the noble and the 
beautiful; those for whose society we may 
yearn with a pleasant sorrow, with tears as 
bright and pure as these falling drops, with 


sighs and murmurings as sweetly sad as these 
of the caverned fountain. 

But sweetly sad they sound no more. 
Down goes a rock, tumbled over the cliff by 
the guide, who is of opinion that folks come 
hither to see and hear, not to muse and be 
melancholy. There it goes crash; it has 
reached the bottom. No hark! it strikes 
again; once more and again, still falling, still 
striking. Will it never stop? One's hair 
begins to bristle, as he hears the sound re 
peated, growing less and less, until the ear 
can follow it no longer. Certainly, if the Pit 
of Fredericshall be eleven thousand feet deep, 
the Bottomless Pit of the Mammoth Cave 
must be its equal: for two minutes, at least, 
we can hear the stone descending. 

But there is, it appears to me, something 
deceptive in this mode of estimating the 
depth of a pit. Mr. Lee sounded the pit in 
question with a line; and, bottomless though 
it be, found bottom at a depth of one hundred 
and seventy-three feet; though he supposed, 
as every one else who hurls stones into it, 
will suppose, that his plummet had struck a 
shelf, the bottom of the pit being in reality a 
great many fathoms beneath. Nothing would 
be easier than to ascertain, by throwing stones 


into it, the depth of a pit of perpendicular 
descent, and having smooth continuous walls. 
But it must be remembered that all such 
cavities are very broken and ragged, with 
numberless shelves and other projections, on 
which have lodged stones and rubbish from 
the mouldering walls above. A stone being 
cast into such a pit, if it be very deep, will 
naturally strike upon some shelf, from which 
it dislodges much of the rubbish, that falls 
with it to the bottom, each fragment making a 
louder or fainter noise, according to its weight; 
and of these particles the smallest ones, 
which are those that make the least noise, 
will be the longest in rolling off their perch; 
though, of course, once off it, they will fall 
as rapidly as the others. Allowing that the 
bottom of the pit were but a few yards below 
the shelf, it will be easy to perceive that the 
sound of these dislodged particles, falling 
after the stone to the bottom, the heaviest 
first and the lightest last, would produce all 
the phenomena caused by a single stone 
dropping from ledge to ledge for a long time, 
and consequently through a great depth. 
There is. and, indeed, can be, no certainty 
except in the line and plummet. 

A few hundred feet back from this Bot- 


tomless Pit, is a narrow chasm, called the 
Covered Way, which, on being followed, is 
found to terminate in the side of the pit, fifty 
feet below the platform; which is perhaps as 
great a depth into the pit as any visiter will 
ever choose to venture. 









RETURNING again to the Grand Gallery, 
and pursuing the majestic curve it makes at 
the place of the Steamboat, we find it pre 
sently taking another and more abrupt sweep 
to the left, still wide, lofty, and impressive. 
In the angle here made, we see the opening 
into another cave, the Sick Room, which, 
running back, and under the Haunted Cham 
bers, terminates at last under the Grand 
Gallery near the Church, where was original 
ly another outlet, now covered over with 

The visitor has now before him a walk of a 


thousand yards; which having accomplished, 
he will perhaps lay aside his enthusiasm for 
a moment, to wonder how he is ever to get 
back again. Throughout the whole of this 
distance, the floor of the cave is strown over 
with loose rocks, flakes from the ceiling 
and crags from the wall, of all imaginable 
sizes and shapes, over which the labour of 
trudging, at least at the pace the guide holds 
most agreeable, is inconceivably great; while 
a certain natural anxiety to avoid tumbling 
into the numberless gaps betwixt the huge 
rough blocks, and to step upon the slabs, 
which eternally see-saw under your feet, pre 
cisely at the point that will enable you to 
preserve your equilibrium, adds greatly to 
your distresses; while, at the same time, it pre 
vents your taking any note of the grandeur 
around, except when the guide occasionally 
pauses to point out some remarkable object, 
the Keel-boat, (a tremendous rock sixty or 
seventy feet long, fifteen wide, and depth un 
known.) the Devil's Looking-Glass, (which 
is a hugh plate of stone standing erect,) the 
Snow Room,' (where even a lusty halloo 
brings down from the ceiling a shower of 
saline flakes, as white and beautiful almost 
as those of snow itself,) and other such 


curiosities. In another visit, he will perhaps 
show you what you did not before suspect, that 
you have passed many different openings in 
the left wall, running into caves called the Side 
Cuts, in consequence of all of them winding 
back again into the Grand Gallery. In one 
of them is a perforation, the Black Hole, 
leading into the Deserted Chambers, forming 
the third entrance to those wild and dreary 
vaults. Throughout the whole of this space 
of a thousand yards, the Grand Gallery is 
worthy of its name, being uniformly of the 
grandest dimensions and aspect. In two 
places, the rocks covering the floor are of 
such vast size, and lie heaped in such singu 
lar confusion, that fancy has traced in them 
a resemblance to the ruins of demolished 
cities, Troglodytic Luxors, and Palmyras; 
and they bear the names of the First and 
Second Cities. 

But we have accomplished the thousand 
yards, the guide pauses to give us rest; we 
have reached a new region, we look upon a 
new spectacle; we are in the Cross Rooms, 
(so called,) at the entrance of the Black 
Chambers. A wilder, sublimer scene imagi 
nation could scarcely paint; even Martin 
might here take a lesson in the grand and 


terrible. The Grand Gallery, previously con 
tracted, in a short bend, to a width of thirty 
or forty feet, suddenly expands to the width 
of more than a hundred, which it preserves 
throughout a length of five hundred feet. Mid 
way of this noble hall, on the left hand, run 
ning at right angles with it, is seen another 
apartment, a hundred and fifty feet wide, and, 
measuring from its opening, more than two 
hundred long; or, if we add to it the width of 
the Grand Gallery, three hundred feet long; 
the two rooms thus uniting into one in the 
shape of the letter T. The whole of this pro 
digious area is strown with rocks of enormous 
size, tumbled together in a manner that can 
not be described, and looking, especially in 
the transeptal portion, where confusion is by 
them worse confounded, like the ruins of some 
old castle of the Demi-gods, too ponderous 
to stand, yet too massive to decay. This 
apartment is bounded, or rather divided, at 
what seems its end, by ragged cliffs forming 
a kind of very large island, into two branches, 
through both of which, clambering aloft 
among the rugged blocks and up two cran 
nies, called the Chimneys, very irregular and 
bewildering, you can penetrate into the Black 
Chambers above. The whole extent of these 

VOL. II. 12 


chambers, which are black and dismal, as 
their name denotes, does not exceed six or 
seven hundred yards ; and there is nothing 
in them, though they contain several domes 
arched over mountains of fallen sandstone, 
with a few stalactites and clusters of crystals 
here and there, to compare in interest with 
their entrance. The greatest curiosities, per 
haps, are four or five piles of stones looking 
like rude altars, and so denominated, Jeft 
thus heaped up by the Autochthones of the 
cave; though for what purpose it is difficult 
to imagine. 

The entrance into these Black Chambers 
by the Chimneys, however narrow and con 
torted they may be, is not very difficult; but 
the exit is quite another matter. There are 
as many chaotic rocks around the tops of the 
Chimneys in the chambers above, as at the 
bottom; and it is sometimes no easy task to 
find them; the more particularly as there are 
dozens of other holes exactly like them, 
though leading to nothing. Even the guides 
themselves are sometimes for a moment at 
fault. Some years since two young gentle 
men of the West were conducted into the 
Black Chambers, whence, in due course of 
time, they proposed to return to the Grand 


Gallery; a feat, however, as they soon dis 
covered to their horror, which it was much 
easier to propose than perform. The guide, 
who happened not to be very familiar with 
this branch of the cave, looked and looked 
in vain, for the Chimneys. Not one could he 
find. He began to think that while he had 
been with the party at the extreme verge of 
the Chambers, the rocks must have fallen 
down, and sealed up the two passages. Here 
was a situation; and, soon there was a scene. 
The young gentlemen became frantic; and, 
declaring they would sooner die on the spot 
than endure their horrible imprisonment long 
er, condemned to agonize out existence by 
inches, they drew their pistols with which, 
like true American travellers, they were both 
well provided resolving at once to end the 
catastrophe. The only difficulty was a ques 
tion that occurred, whether each should do 
execution upon himself by blowing his own 
brains out, or whether, devoted to friendship 
even in death, each should do that office for 
the other. Fortunately, before the difficulty 
was settled, the guide stumbled upon one of 
the Chimneys, and blood and gunpowder were 
both saved. 

The danger of being entrapped in these 


dens is perhaps as great as ever; but such an 
accident can only happen where the guide, 
besides being inexperienced, is of a temper to 
take alarm, or become confused at an unex 
pected difficulty. In all intricate passages 
throughout the cave, and in many that are 
not intricate, the rocks are marked with broad 
arrows pointing the way out. A piece of 
chalk or, to be correct, of decomposing lime 
stone caught up along the way, makes an in 
telligible record on the black rocks of the path; 
and explo ers at first, and after them super- 
philanthropic visiters, have taken care these 
marks shall be in abundance. The rocks at 
the Chimneys have their share of arrows, and 
a man with good eyes and a philosophic tem 
perament will find little difficulty in making 
his way in and out. 

In the right-hand wall of the Grand Gal 
lery, directly opposite the Black Chambers, is 
the opening of another vault, (whence the 
name of Cross Rooms,) called Fox's Hall. It 
runs backward, and after a course of four or 
five hundred feet, returns to the Grand Gal 

From the Black Chambers to what may be 
properly considered the termination of the 
Grand Gallery, is a distance of only two or 


three hundred yards. During a part of this 
space, the path is very narrow, running be 
tween rudely piled, but high walls of loose 
stones, thrown up by the ancient inhabitants, 
for a purpose they doubtless understood them 
selves, though it will not seem very obvious 
to the modern visiter. The passage, however, 
soon widens again; and presently we hear 
the far-off murmur of a waterfall, whose wild 
pattering sound, like that of a heavy rain, but 
modified almost to music by the ringing echoes 
of the cave, grows louder as we approach, 
and guides us to the end of the Grand Gal 
lery. We find ourselves on the verge of a 
steep stony descent, a hollow running across 
the cave from right to left, bounded on the 
further side by a solid wall extending from 
the bottom of the descent up to the roof, in 
-which it is lost. In the roof, at the right hand 
corner are several perforations as big as hogs 
heads, from which water is ever falling on 
ordinary occasions, in no great quantities, but 
after heavy rains, in torrents, and with a hor 
rible roar that shakes the walls, and resounds 
afar through the cave. It is at such times 
that these cascades are worthy the name of 
Cataracts, which they bear. The water fall 
ing into the hollow below, immediately van- 


ishes among the rocks. In fact, this hollow is 
the mouth of a great pit, loosely filled in with 
stones, which have not even the merit of being 
lodged securely. A huge mass of rocks fell, 
some years ago, from the little domes of the 
cataracts, almost filling that corner of the 
hollow; but they speedily crushed their way 
down to the original level. On another oc 
casion, some visiters tumbling a big rock into 
the hollow on the left hand, the crash set all 
below in commotion, causing a considerable 
sinking in that quarter. 

Over this portion of the hollow that is, 
on the left hand high up in the wall that 
bounds the passage, the visiter dimly dis 
cerns an opening, behind which, listening at 
tentively, he can hear the pattering of another 
cascade. Descending into the hollow and 
clambering up a mound of stones by way of 
ladder, we make our way into this opening 
the Garret-hole and find ourselves be 
tween two hollows the one we have just 
crossed, and a second forming part of a con 
cealed chamber of no great extent into 
which, from a barrel-like dome above, falls 
the Second Cataract. Opposite to this Second 
Cataract, at the bottom of the wall, (which is, 
however, some twelve or fifteen feet above 


the bottom of the hollow,) is a horizontal fis 
sure, ten or fifteen feet wide, but so low as 
only to permit a man lying flat on his face to 
enter it. But through that narrow fissure 
the Humble Chute and in that grovelling po 
sition, we must pass, if we would visit the 
Solitary Cave; a branch only discovered with 
in a few years. Indeed, if we can believe the 
guide, our little party was the first that ever 
entered it; for though the fissure had been 
often observed, and it was thought might lead 
to a new branch, neither himself nor any 
other individual had ever attempted to crawl 
through it. It is, in truth, somewhat of awe- 
inspiring appearance, looking like one of 

" Rifted rocks whose entrance leads to Hell;" 

though we discovered, to our great satisfac 
tion, that it led to quite another place. 

Crawling along on our faces for a hundred 
feet or more, we found ourselves at last in 
more comfortable quarters, in a cave neither 
very wide nor high, nor indeed extensive; the 
greatest length of the main passage not ex 
ceeding seven hundred yards, but curious for 
the dens and grotesque figures worn in the 


rocks by water, and for its recent stalactites, 
of which there is quite a grove in the cham 
ber called the Fairy Grotto. The Island 
or Boone's Castle, as it is more poetically 
called is a very curious rock supporting the 
roof in manner of a pier, but excavated 
through and through in several directions, so 
as to make a little room, in which you may 
sit at ease, looking out into the cave by sun 
dry wide, window-like orifices in its walls. 
From the main passage run several narrower 
branches, some of which have not yet been 
explored. In one of them was found a kind 
of nest composed of sticks, moss, and leaves, 
with, I believe, a walnut or two in it sup 
posed to be a rat's riest, floated thither from 
some unknown higher branch; and in another 
passage was found a tooth resembling a 
beaver's. In one of the passages, called the 
Coral-grove Branch, is a deep pit, suspected, 
upon pretty strong grounds, to have some 
underhand kind of communication with the 
Cataracts, which are at no great distance; 
and, indeed, from an occurrence that happen 
ed some few months after the discovery of 
the Solitary Cave, this communication can 
hardly be questioned. One of the younger 
guides, at the time mentioned, had conducted 


a visiter into the Solitary Cave, where they 
employed themselves looking for new branch 
es at its extremity. It was a winter's day, 
very stormy; and rain was falling, when they 
entered the cave. The Cataracts were found 
pouring down water rather more freely than 
usual, but not in quantities to excite any 
alarm; and they crawled through the Humble 
Chute, and to the farthest recesses of the 
branch, without giving them a thought. In 
these remote vaults, as indeed in all others 
throughout the cave, except in the immediate 
vicinity of falling water, a death-like si 
lence perpetually reigns: of course, a sound of 
any kind occurring, immediately attracts at 
tention, if it does not cause dismay. I can 
well remember the thrilling effect produced 
upon myself and companions, when first ex 
ploring the Solitary Cave, by a low, hollow, 
but very distant sound we heard once or 
twice repeated, which we supposed was 
caused by the falling of rocks in chambers 
far beneath a phenomenon, however, as it 
seems, of very rare occurrence. The visiter 
and his guide, of whom I speak, were startled 
from their tranquillity by a more formidable 
noise a sudden rumbling and roaring, dis 
tant indeed, but loud enough to produce con- 


sternation. They retraced their steps as 
rapidly as they could. The noise increased 
as they advanced; and by and by, when they 
reached the mouth of the Coral-grove Branch, 
which is two hundred yards from the Humble 
Chute, they found it full of water, and pour 
ing out a flood into the Solitary Cave, here, 
at its lowest level. They hurried by, astound 
ed and affrighted, yet rejoiced to find the 
water was not rushing into the cave through 
the Humble Chute, which would have effec 
tually cut off their escape. It was no longer 
to be doubted that a torrent, a result of the 
rains, was now pouring down the Cataracts, 
especially the second one, immediately oppo 
site the outlet of the Humble Chute; its ter 
rific din made that more than evident; and it 
was questioned whether the body of falling 
water might not fill the narrow passage into 
which the Solitary Cave opens, and so pre 
vent their further retreat. But the occasion 
was pressing; time was too precious to be 
wasted in hesitation. The guide crept up 
the Chute, and reached its outlet, where he 
was saluted by a flood of spray that imme 
diately extinguished his torch. He perceived, 
however, that the path was still open to the 
Garret Hole, which if he could reach, there 


was little fear of himself and companion dy 
ing the death of drowned rats. His torch 
proving insufficient to resist the spray and 
eddies of air caused by the cascade, he crept 
a little back into the Chute, where he man 
fully substituted his shirt for the torch; and 
with that flaming in his hands, making a gal 
lant rush, he succeeded in reaching the Gar 
ret Hole; whence, lighting his torch again, it 
was afterwards not very difficult to assist in 
extricating his companion. The Solitary 
Cave was visited again, a few days after: the 
floods had then entirely subsided, and the 
Cataracts dwindled to their former insignifi 
cance, leaving no vestige of the late scene of 
disorder and terror. 







STANDING again upon the verge of the de 
clivity of the First Cataract, facing toward 
the mouth of the cave, we perceive on the 
right hand, a wide and lofty passage running 
from the Grand Gallery, which we did not 
before notice. This is commonly considered 
as a continuation of the Grand Gallery, or 
Main Cave, and may be followed for a dis 
tance of fifteen hundred yards nearly a 
mile. Half a mile from its entrance at the 
Cataracts, it is crossed by another wide cave, 
the right and left hand branches of which are 
each half a mile long, and called, respectively, 
Symmes's Pit Branch and the Branch of the 
Blue Spring. Each has its curiosities and its 


thing else assures Miss Lavinia Small, 
Peabody, or Pettibones, that he visited the 
Mammoth Cave at such a date, and that he 
adores her, and will continue to do so as long 
as the rocks hold together; there another son 
of soul, who writes a good hand, somewhat 
the worse for bad paper and mouldered ink, 
and spells nothing aright except his own 
name, proclaims that he was educated at 
such a college, declaring that he will hold his 
Alma Mater in honour and affection, and 

also Miss Angelina B , diffidently leaving 

her name to be guessed at; then comes an 
other edition of Mr. Tender and Miss Small, 
under other names, and then another, and 
another without end memorials of fond 
hearts and foolish heads. 

From these frank confessions, whispered 
in pen and ink into the rocky ears of the 
Mammoth Cave, and the representations of 
the guides, there seems to be every reason 
to believe that the Mammoth Cave and 
particularly the Chief City thereof has a 
wonderful effect in awakening the tender 
passions; a phenomenon which, however in 
teresting it might be to discuss, I must leave 
to be solved by the philosophers. I felt 
somewhat of an inclination, at the first peep 


into them, to pocket a brace or two of these 
precious records; but they were secrets 
breathed in the confessional offerings made 
to the benign (so we must conceive him) 
genius of the cave; and I returned them to 
their places, to rot and moulder, as perhaps 
have already done some of the idle hands 
that traced them. 

In the Deserted Chambers, we made an 
effort, and a successful one, to find out what 
solitude was. Let us, in this fearful vault, 
upon this mound of rocks, two miles away 
from the blessed light of heaven, prove what 
is darkness; a thing, I devoutly believe, quite 
as little known in the outer world, even as 
solitude. Let us blow out our torches. What 
should we fear ? We have our pockets full 
of Lucifers, and 'can again our former lights 
restore,' whenever it repents us. What, in 
deed, can we fear? Man is not with us: we 
are alone with God. Is darkness so very 
terrible ? 


" He that has light within his own clear breast, 
May sit i' the centre, and enjoy bright day." 

Puff, puff, puff it is done ; the torches are 
out, and now we are indeed in darkness. Ah! 


that those who dream that Heaven, in visit 
ing them with a little affliction, a little deso 
lation, a little gloom the darkest that was 
ever infused into the sparkling (Jew-drop of 
life has quenched the light of hope and hap 
piness, leaving the spirit in midnight, should 
sit with us upon this rock, and say if such 
darkness as this ever lay even for a moment 
upon the mind! Never: such darkness were 
annihilation. It is awful. The atmosphere 
is a rock, palpable and solid as the limestone 
walls around; the very air seems petrified 
condensed into a stratum of coal, in which 
we sit encased like toads or insects fossils 
living fossils. Such it is to us to man; 
all whose skill exhausted in the most inge 
nious devices, could not collect from it light 
enough to see his own fingers. Yet the bat 
flutters by at ease; and the rat, which has no 
such fine organization as his airy cousin, or 
as a somnambule from the digits of an Animal- 
Magnetizer creatures, as we all know the 
bat and the somnambule that see through 
their bodies, or, rather, see by instinct, with 
out the intervention of visual apparatus of 
any kind the rat scampers over the rocks 
with equal facility and confidence; and, doubt 
less, if a cat were here, she also would find 


light enough to make a bold dash at his rat- 
ship. But we are in gloom gloom unparal- 
lelled by any thing in the world. Truly, 
indeed, man knows nothing about darkness 
there Alas ! none but those to whose eyes 
Heaven has denied the blessing of light alto 
gether. The blind see such darkness; and 
here we can learn (for during a period we 
can feel it) the depth and misery of the pri 

And now, while thus sitting in gloom in 
effable, a secret dread (notwithstanding the 
actual assurance we possess of security) steal 
ing through our spirits, we can understand 
and appreciate the horror of mind which in 
evitably seizes upon men lost in caves, and 
deprived of their lights; even when their 
reason if they could listen to that ever ill- 
used counsellor, the victim and football of 
every fitful passion tells them that their 
situation is not wholly desperate. Although 
no fatal accident has ever happened in the 
Mammoth Cave, men have v been frequently 
lost in it; or, at least, have lost their lights, 
and so been left imprisoned in darkness. In 
such a case, as proceeding in any direction 
in the dark is quite out of the question, all 
that is to be done is to sit patiently down, 


waiting until relief comes from without; which 
will happen as soon as the persons outside 
have reason, from your unusual stay, to sus 
pect that some such catastrophe has occurred. 
This every body who enters the cave knows 
well enough, and none better than the guides; 
and, one would suppose, such knowledge 
would always, in case of accident, preserve 
from unmanly terror. The case is, however, 
as numerous examples prove, quite other 
wise; guide and visiter, the bold man and 
the timid, yield alike to apprehension, give 
over all as lost, and pass the period of 
imprisonment in lamentations and prayers. 
It is astonishing, indeed, how vastly devout 
some men, who were never devout before, 
become, when thus lost in the cave; though, 
as might be suspected, the fit of devotion is 
of no longer duration than the time of im 

" When the devil was sick, the devil a monk would be; 
When' the xlevil was well, the devil a monk was he" 

applies very well to the history of cave con 
versions. I had the good fortune, when on 
my way to the Mammoth Cave some years 
ago, in a certain city of the South- West, 


to stumble upon a worthy gentleman, who, 
among his many virtues public and private, 
was not supposed to lay any particular claim to 
religious devotion; or if he did, took no great 
pains to make it evident: on the contrary, I 
heard it very energetically averred by one 
who was a proficient in the same accomplish 
ment, " that Captain B could swear 

harder than any other man on the Missis 
sippi." The Captain ascertaining whither we 
were directing our footsteps, congratulated 
us upon the pleasures we had in store, and 
concluded by informing us that he had visited 
the Mammoth Cave himself, and, with his 
guide, had been lost in it, remaining in this 
condition and in the dark, for eight or nine 
hours. " Dreadful !" my friend and self both 
exclaimed: " what did you do?" " Do !" re 
plied the Captain, with the gravity of a phi 
losopher; " all that we could; as soon as 
our lights went out, we sat down upon a 
rock, and waited until the people came in 
and hunted us up." We admired the Cap 
tain's courage, and went on our way, until 
we had arrived within two miles of the Mam 
moth Cave; when a thunder-shower drove us 
to seek shelter in a cabin on the way-side. 


Here we found a man who had been born 
and bred, and lived all his life, within so short 
a distance of the cave, without having ever 
entered it: in excuse of which unpardonable 
deficiency, he told us, " he had a brother who 
had been in it often enough," had sometimes 
officiated as guide, and had once even been 
lost in it. u He was along with a gentleman 

he was guiding Captain B : perhaps 

you know Captain B ?" said our hospita 
ble host, " Captain B of . Well, 

he was the gentleman with my brother: they 
lost their lights, and were kept fast in the des 
perate hole for nine hours awfully frightened, 

too." " What! Captain B frightened?" 

" Just as much as my brother: I have heard 
my brother tell the story over a hundred 
times. They got to praying, both of 'em, as 
loud as they could; and my brother says, the 
Captain made some of the most beautiful 
prayers he ever heard in his life! and he 
reckons, if the Captain would take to it, he'd 
make a rale tear-cat of a preacher!" O phi 
losophy! how potent thou art in an arm-chair, 
or at the dinner table! 

But we have been long enough in dark 
ness, long enough even in the cave. We re- 


light our torches, we bid farewell to the Hall 
of the Chief City, and returning to the Grand 
Galiery, retrace the long path that leads us 
back to daylight. 






THE Mammoth Cave possesses few features 
of interest for a geologist or naturalist. It 
may be considered a great crack opened in 
the thick bed of limestone, by some convul 
sion, or series of convulsions, which have left 
it in some places in its original condition, 
while, in other parts, it has been worn and 
altered by rushing floods that have swept 
into it sand, gravel, and clay; while, also, the 
infiltration of springs from above has, here 
and there, destroyed the calcareous crust, 
and exposed the superstratum of sandstone. 
The earthquakes, that have left their visible 
devastations in every part of the cave, must, 
however, have been a thousand times more 
violent than those of modern days. Many 

VOL. II. 14 


shocks the concussions that succeeded the 
great New Madrid earthquake of 1811 
were experienced by the nitre-diggers, while 
at work in the cave; but, though sorely 
frightened on each occasion, they never saw 
a single rock shaken from the roof or walls. 
The rock contains no fossils, or none that 
we could discover; though shells abound in 
the limestone in the vicinity. No fossil bones 
have been discovered. Human bones in a 
recent condition were dug up near the en 
trance; but no mummies were found. The 
mummy in one of the public museums said to 
be from the Mammoth Cave, was taken, we 
were told, from a cave in the neighbourhood 
we believe, the Pit Cave; though deposited 
for awhile in the Mammoth Cave for exhibi 
tion. There are vast numbers of rats in the 
cave, though we never could get sight of any 
of them. What they can find to live on may 
well be wondered at. In winter, the roof of 
the cave, as far in, at least, as the Black 
Chambers, where we found them in numbers, 
is seen dotted over with bats. In the low 
and humid branches, there may frequently be 
seen, galloping along over roof and floor, an 
insect with long cricket-like legs, and body 
like a spider; and a smaller insect, somewhat 


like that " strange bedfellow," with which 
misery makes us acquainted, may be some 
times discovered. 

I have frequently had occasion to speak of 
the Indians, the original inhabitants of the 
cave: and, indeed, this is to me one of the 
most interesting subjects connected with the 
Mammoth Cave. I use the word inhabitants; 
for mere visiters, unless the cave was, in its 
day, much more of a lion among the savage 
Red-men than it is now, even among their 
white successors, could never have left behind 
them so many vestiges. We have seen what 
vast quantities of broken, half-burnt canes lie 
among the rocks of the Chief City. They 
are scattered in other parts of the cave I 
might say, throughout the whole extent of the 
Grand Gallery in nearly equal profusion. 
These, there can be little doubt, are the re 
mains of torches in some cases of fires; for 
which former purpose they were tied together 
with strips of young hickory bark, into little 
faggots. Such faggots are still occasionally 
picked up, half-consumed, the thongs still 
around them. Besides, there have been dis 
covered stone arrow-heads, axes, and ham 
mers, and pieces of pottery, with moccasins, 


blankets of woven bark, and other Indian 
valuables; in short, evidence sufficient to 
prove that these occidental Troglodytes ac 
tually lived in the cave. No mere visiters 
would have taken the trouble to build the 
walls in the Grand Gallery near the Cata 
racts; much less to clear away the rocks from 
the floor of the Blue-Spring Branch, as we 
find has been done, so as to make a good 
path on the sand beneath. There are, in 
several branches, places where the walls have 
been picked and beaten with stone-hammers 
for what purpose no one can tell; in others, 
rocks heaped up into mounds, and the earth 
separated the object of such labour, as we 
cannot suppose the Indians did dig villanous 
saltpetre, being equally mysterious; neither 
of which could have been done by temporary 
visitants. Nor could such visitants have 
made themselves so thoroughly acquainted 
with the cave; into every nook of which they 
seem to have penetrated, leaving the prints 
of their moccasins and naked feet in the sand 
and clay of the low branches, and fragments 
of their cane torches in the upper ones. 
Even in the Solitary Cave, previously un 
known to the guides, we found, in one place, 
the print of a naked foot. One would think 


the curious fellows had even entered some of 
the pits; as there are long ropes, or withes of 
hickory bark, sometimes found, which look 
as if they might have been prepared for such 
a purpose. At all events, it is quite plain 
that the Mammoth Cave was once the dwell 
ing-place of man of a race of the Anakim, 
as some will have it, whose bones were dis 
interred in the Vestibule; or, as common- 
sense personages may believe, of a tribe of 
the common family of Red-men, who, in ages 
not very remote, occupied all the fertile val 
leys along the rivers of Kentucky. Some 
such clan, I suppose, dwelt on Green River, 
at Cave Hollow, using the Mammoth Cave 
as a kind of winter-wigwam, and a more 
common use of caves among Indians a 
burial place. The tribe has vanished, and 
their bones, (to what base uses we may re 
turn!) converted into gunpowder, have been 
employed to wing many a death against their 
warring descendants. 

But of Indians, charnels, and caves no 
more: we have reached the confines of day; 
yonder it shines upon us afar, a twinkling 
planet, which increases as we advance, 
changing from pallid silver to flaming gold. 


It is the gleam of sunset playing upon the 
grass and mosses at the mouth of the cave. 
Oh, World, World! he knows not thy love 
liness, who has not lived a day in the Mam 
moth Cave! 






THE frequency, and dreadful character, of 
accidents by steam on the Western waters, 
have, among other effects, very generally in 
duced the good people of the East to regard 
an Ohio or Mississippi steamboat as nothing 
better than a floating man-trap a locomo 
tive volcano, on which Western ladies and 
gentlemen take their seats for the purpose of 
being blown into eternity. 

After forming such a conception, and draw 
ing in his mind a suitable picture of the in 
fernal-machine, in which he is to take his 
chance of a visit to the other world a pic 
ture of some clumsily constructed hulk, paint 
ed over with flames and fiery devils, like the 
San-benito of a prisoner of the Inquisition, 


perhaps, also, begrimed with the blood of for 
mer victims the traveller is somewhat aston 
ished to find himself in a stately and splendidly 
appointed barge, that might have served the 
need of Cleopatra herself, and which will cer 
tainly vie with, if it does not entirely surpass 
in magnificence, the finest steamers he has 
ever floated in, in any other part of the world. 
His astonishment w r ill increase, when, search 
ing out the commander, whom he expects to 
discover picking his teeth with a bowie-knife, 
or drinking grog out of a barrel, he lights 
upon a very well behaved and companionable 
personage, who does the honours of his ves 
sel with all courtesy, and declares he never 
yet blew up a boat, and never even races, un 
less when his passengers particularly request 
it; when he finds the engineer oiling his pump- 
rods, instead of weighing down the safety- 
valve; and the pilot industriously sighting his 
distances, instead of shooting down strangers 
on the shore. In short, after making many 
more equally surprising discoveries, he will 
at last come to the conclusion that the occur 
rence of accidents in a great many Western 
steamboats does not necessarily imply that 
accidents must, or even may, happen in all; 
and that he is, perhaps, as safe 'and has as 


good reason to enjoy himself, during his voy 
age, as if caged in the quietest "low-pressure" 
on the Delaware. 

When a man discovers that he may enjoy 
himself, it is a very common consequence that 
he will do so. And it is my impression, con 
firmed by repeated enterprises in those for 
midable vessels, that a man may enjoy him 
self to as great, if not to greater advantage 
in a Western steamboat than in any other 
in the land. One chief reason of this is the 
length of the voyage one commonly takes in 
the Western boat, whereby travellers have 
time to turn about them, to strike up friend 
ships with one another, and make the acquain 
tance of the captain and officers, from 
whom they may thus glean wayside anec 
dotes and information, not to be gained in 
shorter trips. Another reason is the general 
frankness of manners which, a characteristic 
of the West, all men seem naturally to fall 
into, the moment they reach the West. But 
perhaps the greatest reason of all will be 
found in the peculiar structure of the West 
ern boat, which is so planned as to compel 
travellers to congregate together in little 
squads or knots, instead of in one great mul 
titude, whereby sociableness is in a manner 


forced upon them. There is in her no great 
gathering-place, like the quarter-deck of an 
Eastern steamboat, where passengers huddle 
together upon benches, to stare each other 
sadly and bashfully in the face; but a great 
number of smaller retiring places the boil 
er-deck, the social hall, and, above all, the 
galleries, in which little groups of men, acci 
dentally met, find no difficulty in forming 
themselves into agreeable parties. 

If I were to add, that the fact of there 
being no place of convocation in a Western 
steamboat equally free to the ladies as to the 
gentlemen, may be another great reason why 
the latter so easily enjoy themselves, I do not 
know that I should be guilty of a libel upon 
either. The truth is, that men in America, 
and especially in the West, are so egregious- 
ly civil to all womankind, and carry their 
courtesy to such excess of painful respect, as 
to embarrass both themselves and the fair 
objects of their reverence, so that they re 
ciprocally act as dampers upon each other; 
and I believe, upon observation, that they 
are, in general, after being a few moments to 
gether, in any general place of assemblage, 
as happy to fly each other, as schoolboys to 
escape a good aunt who has been stuffing 


them with excellent advice, instead of sugar 

Of the voyage on the Mississippi I have 
spoken in another place. The voyage on the 
Ohio is infinitely more agreeable, La Belle 
Riviere being rich in all those charms of bold 
and varied scenery, of which the Father 
Water is almost entirely destitute. One is 
not here oppressed by a continual succession 
of willows and cottonwoods springing from 
swampy islands and quagmire shores, and a ho 
rizon so low as to be ever concealed from the 
eye. Beautiful hills, springing here from the 
margin of the tide, there rising beyond culti 
vated fields or gleaming towns, track the 
course of the Ohio from its springs to its 
mouth; and high bluffs, crowned with majes 
tic planes, shingled beaches, and lovely 
islands, changing and shifting in myrioramic 
profusion, present an ever changing series of 
prospects, of strongly marked foregrounds 
relieved against blue distances, so dear to 
the eyes of painters and lovers of the pic 

Add to this that the Ohio has its storied 
shores, its places of renown, its points to 
which we can attach the memories of other 
days; and we may imagine what pleasure 


awaits the voyager on its bosom, who has 
once succeeded, as, in general, he will very 
easily do, in throwing aside all fears, and 
thoughts, of half-burned boilers and despe 
rately weighted safety-valves. 

For my own part, I can say that in no 
river of the United States do I always more 
confidently expect, or more uniformly expe 
rience, the enjoyment of a steam excursion, 
than on the upper Ohio; and I hold a trip, in 
the dull season that is, when the vessels are 
not over-crowded with passengers in a neat 
little summer boat if a slow one, so much 
the better with a pleasant captain, a civi 
lized cook, and good humoured companions 
whether the voyage be up or down as 
one of the most agreeable expeditions that 
can well be taken. 

On such an occasion, one is pretty sure of 
finding companions both able and willing to 
talk men who possess in an uncommon de 
gree the intelligence and powers of conver- 
sation so general in the West, who know 
every man and thing in, and appertaining to, 
their own states or districts, and every local 
history and anecdote which a curious person 
might desire to hear. One may even light, 
at such times, upon an old pioneer and found- 


er of the West, an original colonist of Ken 
tucky or Ohio, a contemporary, perhaps, of 
Boone and Clark, who, solicited by his junior 
fellow-travellers, and warmed as much by 
their interest in his conversation, as by his 
own stirring recollections, can speak of the 
days of the border, of the times and scenes 
that tried men's souls, and pour a stream of 
forest story, the fresher arid more delightful 
to his hearers for being thus drunk at the 

It was once my fortune, on such a voyage, 
to meet such a story-teller, a venerable old 
man who was acquainted with every point of 
note on the river, and had descended it more 
than forty years before, performing a voyage, 
which at that period, always dangerous 
was, in this case, attended with circumstances 
peculiarly perilous and dreadful. His story, 
interesting in itself, had, moreover, the addi 
tional merit of being told upon the place of 
its occurrence, upon the river whose waters 
had been dyed with his own blood and the 
blood of many a hapless companion, and at 
the very spot which had witnessed its fearful 
catastrophe. It was a tale strongly illustra 
tive, and with but few exaggerated features, 
of the earlier navigation of the Ohio, when 

VOL. II. 15 


the unwieldy flat-boat, or broad- Jiorn H took 
the place of the steamer; when men inexpe 
rienced in navigation, and entirely unac 
quainted with the river upon which they so 
boldly launched, were the only sailors and 
pilots; and when, above all, the river-banks 
were lined with Indians, lying in wait to plun 
der and murder. 

It was a fine evening of early October, 
183 ; the beautiful hills, forest-clad to the 
top, had put on their glorious mantles of gold 
and scarlet; the clumps of trees on the shores 
and islands, some half bared of leaves, dis 
playing the tufts of green misletoe on their 
branches and the purple ivies draping their 
pillared trunks, some still in full leaf and glow 
ing, here like a sunshiny cloud, and there 
like a hillockof cinnabar glassed themselves 
in a tide as smooth and bright as quicksilver, 
in which their reflections, and the images of 
bank and hill, were as clear and distinct to 
the vision as the objects themselves; so that 
we seemed to be rather sailing down a river 
of air than any grosser element. 

It was an hour when every one having 
finished his supper travellers felt senti 
mental and philosophic, and dragged their 
chairs to the boiler-deck; where with the 


consciousness all had, that, in case of a boiler 
bursting, they were in the best place in the 
boat to be blown to atoms each surveyed 
the Eden-like prospects continually arising, 
admired, commented, and prepared his store 
of anecdote, to take part in the story-telling 
conversation, which always formed the enter 
tainment of the evening. 

It was at this period that the old gentle 
man, (Mr. Law, he said, was his name,) who 
had on previous occasions narrated many in 
teresting anecdotes of other persons, without 
doing more than hint at his own adventures, 
was prevailed upon to speak of himself, of his 
own travel's history; which he did with such 
unction and effect, at least so far as regarded 
myself, that I was never easy afterward 
until I had fully committed his story to writ 
ing. I have only to regret that I did not ob 
tain for it, as thus faithfully recorded, the 
proper evidence of authenticity; that is, a 
certificate of its accuracy by the narrator, 
under his own hand and seal; which would 
have settled the doubts of all such skeptical 
persons as may be disposed to regard it as a 
fiction and coinage of my own imagination. 






" HAD Fulton and Stevens, and the other 
great men who have covered the rivers of 
America with steamboats," thus began the 
narrator, "commenced their experiments 
twenty years earlier than they did, the 
history of the West would have presented 
no such tales of blood as 1 am now about 
to relate, and its settlement would have 
advanced with equal rapidity and safety. 
With a steamboat on the Ohio, to waft us, 
the first invaders of the wilderness, upon our 
voyage, instead of the wretched broad-horns 
in which so many of us went to our deaths, 
the voyage to Kentucky would have present- 


ed none of those dangers and difficulties by 
which colonization was so seriously retarded, 
and the rich fields of the West left so long in 
possession of the savage Red-man. 

" I was born in Virginia, in what is now 
Jefferson county, on the Upper Potomac, 
an honourable birth-place; but I cannot boast 
a lineage either rich or distinguished. On 
the contrary, I found myself, at the age of 
eighteen, in the month of March, 1791, an 
ignorant younker, (ignorant of every thing 
but the rifle, which I had learned to handle in 
hunter's style by mere instinct, and the hoe, 
the use of which noble implement starvation 
and a hard-labouring father had as early 
taught me,) set adrift upon the world, to seek 
my fortune, or, in other words, shift for my 
self as I could ; my father, Michael Law, 
(which is also my own name,) having brought 
home to his cabin, one fine morning, a new 
friend in the person of a step-mother; who 
was never at rest until she had succeeded in 
driving me from the house; a catastrophe to 
which my father the more readily consented, 
as I was now, he said, 'a man grown, and 
full as able to make my way in the world as 
he was.' 

" He gave me his blessing, a knife, a new 


shirt, and a pair of shoes, with an old haver 
sack to put them in, a dried venison-ham, 
(which was, however, of my own shooting,) 
and as much parched corn as I chose to car 
ry; and my step-mother adding, as proofs of 
her affectionate regard, a pair of stockings 
and a worsted nightcap of her own knitting, 
I bade them farewell; and, in company with 
three other adventurers like myself, turned 
my face towards Pittsburg, with the design 
of proceeding to Kentucky; where I was told 
I might have a fine farm for nothing, save an 
occasional fight for it with the Indians, and 
plenty of stock, horses and cows, as many as 
I might want, from any body for the mere 

" Arriving at Pittsburg, then a miserable 
little hamlet, in which no wiseacre could fore 
see the bustling and important city into which 
it has now grown, I began to be somewhat 
alarmed at the dismal stories every one had 
to tell of the terrors of the downward voy 
age, of the frequent, nay, daily destruction 
of boats with all on board, by the Indians; 
from whom, many declared, it was a mere ac 
cident and miracle that any boats should es 
cape at all. My companions were even more 
dismayed than I, one of them returning home 


within a week, and the others hiring them 
selves out at labour upon the fortress, which 
the government of the United States was 
then constructing at Pittsburg. 

" As for me, having a little money in rny 
pocket, won at sundry-shooting matches dur 
ing the preceding winter, and treasured up 
against a rainy day, I resolved to play the 
gentleman as long as it lasted, and then de 
termine upon the course to be pursued to 
go to work like my friends, for which I had 
but little appetite, having a soul quite above 
my condition, or join some enterprising boat's 
crew, and proceed to Kentucky, for which I 
still felt a hankering, notwithstanding the no 
torious perils of the voyage. 

" My money, as I employed it freely, first, 
in decorating my person with a much hand 
somer suit of clothes than had ever before 
decked it, and, secondly, in establishing my 
self in the best tavern in the place, I soon 
managed to make away with; upon which, 
having now made up my mind for Kentucky, 
I began to look about me for a boat, and the 
means of obtaining a passage in it to Ken 

" In this I found no great difficulty. The 
great preparations which General St. Clair, 


Governor of the Territories Northwest of the 
Ohio, and commander of the national forces 
in the West, was making at his camp, Fort 
Hamilton, the site, as all know, of the pre 
sent Cincinnati, for a great expedition, which, 
every body supposed, was to sweep the In 
dians from the face of the earth, and so end 
the Indian wars in Kentucky for ever, had 
given a vast impulse and increase to emigra 
tion; and there was now not a week, indeed, 
scarce a day, in which some boat, or fleet of 
boats, did not depart from Pittsburg. And 
these were seldom so heavily laden, or strong 
ly manned, but that room could be readily 
found for a single unencumbered man, a 
sprightly lad like myself, who could balance 
a rifle, had muscles for an oar, and otherwise 
promised to make himself serviceable on the 

" It was my good fortune (for such, not 
withstanding the disasters of the voyage, I 
shall always esteem it,) to find, among other 
emigrants who were making their prepara 
tions for descending the river, a certain Colo 
nel Storm, a worthy old gentleman of Vir 
ginia, who had fought through the French 
Wars and the Revolution at the head of a 
regiment of Buckskins, and bore the reputa- 


tion of a brave officer, as well as a rich man. 
He was on his way to Kentucky, to locate boun 
ty-grants of his own, as well as others belong 
ing to brother officers, for whom he acted as 
agent; and he intended also to settle in Ken 
tucky; for which purpose, he had brought with 
him his family consisting, however, of but a 
single daughter, a beautiful and amiable girl 
of seventeen and a great deal of property, 
horses, cattle, furniture and farming imple 
ments, and a dozen or more slaves, enough in 
all to fill two or three boats of the ordinary 

" With such a property at stake, and so 
many things to encumber him on the voyage, 
he was desirous to enlist the services of as 
many bold assistants as he could procure, 
and therefore offered, besides a free passage 
and support, a considerable bounty to such 
persons as would take service with him for 
the expedition. 

" Hearing of this, and that he had nearly 
completed his crews, and expected to put off 
in a very few days, I went to him forthwith, 
to offer my services, and was immediately 
ushered into his presence. He was a fine 
portly, powdered, and military-looking old 
gentleman, but, as I soon saw, hot and irasci- 


ble of complexion, his temper being especially 
soured at the time of my visit, by a fit of the 
gout, which had suddenly fastened upon one 
of his legs; and as I entered the room, I heard 
him scolding very bitterly at a young man, 
who seemed to be his clerk or secretary, and 
was busy among books and papers, which he 
tumbled over in a hurried and confused man 
ner, as if irritated by the Colonel's remarks, 
and yet struggling to keep down his anger 
without reply. 

" The old gentleman seeing me, demand 
ed very sharply, ' who I was, and what I 

" I told him, ' I came to enter with him for 
the Kentucky voyage;' upon which he gave 
me a stare of contempt, and angrily ex 
claimed, ; What! with that tailor's finery 
on your back?' (for I had my best suit on:) 
4 Oons and death, I want men, not coxcombs! 
Men, you jackdaw! men that can stare death 
in the face, and take the devil by the top 

"I told him, being somewhat galled by his 
contemptuous expressions, that 'I was man 
enough for his purpose, or any body else's;' at 
which he burst into a passion, swore at me 
for ' an insolent hobnail,' and concluded the 


angry tirade by asking me ' what 1 was good 
for? and what I could do?' 

" ' Any thing,' replied I, as stiffly as a lord, 
' any thing that any other man can do.' 

" ' Oh, ay, I doubt not!' said he, ironically, 
and grinning over his shoulder at the young 
man, his clerk, 'you can read novels, and 
write verses, and play the fiddle, and dangle 
after the women, eh?' and he darted another 
bitter glance at the young fellow, who put 
his hand up to his head, arid twisted it among 
his hair, looking very much incensed, but 
still made no reply. 

" 'I can read,' said I, and with great truth 
and honesty, ' very well in the Testament, 
and any other book with big print: and I can 
write, too, right smart; only my master never 
put me in small-hand.' At which answer, 
Colonel Storm burst into a laugh; which I 
mistook for a laugh of incredulity, and there 
fore hastened to assure him I spoke nothing 
but the truth; adding, which I did with great 
frankness, that ' as for the fiddle, I knew 
nothing about it, having never tried my hand 
at any thing better than a banjo. But as for the 
women,' I said, with equal honesty, ' though 
I don't know any thing about dangling, 


I reckon I can kiss a pretty girl as well as 
any body.' 

" ' Well,' said Colonel Storm, fetching 
another laugh, and then giving me a second 
diabolical grin, which, I believe, was owing 
to a sudden twinge in his foot, ' that's neither 
here nor there. What can you do that's 
like a man? for there's the point to be con 

" ' I can draw a good bead upon a rifle,' I 
replied; upon which the Colonel roared, with 
approbation, ' Now you talk like a man, and 
not a jackass!' ' Yes, sir,' I continued, swell 
ing with a sense of my importance and 
superior skill in an exercise which, I per 
ceived, he regarded as a merit; ' I can't pre 
tend to be any great shakes at the reading, 
and writing, and fiddling; but I can go the 
Old Sinner on a cut-bore, kill death at a knife 
fight, and out-wrestle any man of my inches 
this side the Alleghany!' All which was, 
perhaps, more than half true; for in those, 
my cubling days, I was, I am sorry to say, 
something of what we, now-a-days, call ' a 
young screamer.' 

" 4 Bravo!' cried Colonel Storm, turning 
maliciously to the young secretary; ; do you 
hear that, Tom Connor? Here's a young 


fellow can shoot, and fight, and do other 
things a man can; and not a bit of reading, 
and writing and fiddling, and woman-dan 
gling does he care for. Oons, sir, I thought I 
should have made a man of you!' 

" The young fellow, Connor, as the Colonel 
called him, started up, as if stung by the old 
man's remark, and, I believe, was about to 
make some passionate rely; but just then the 
Colonel's daughter came into the room, with 
some drug-stuff in a cup she had brought her 
father, and Connor instantly resumed his 
seat, busying himself among the papers. 

" The young lady remained in the room 
but a few moments; but I had time to observe 
she was what I called her that is, a very 
beautiful girl, whose charms and elegance, 
such as I had never before seen equalled among 
the women of our rude border country, al 
most struck me dumb with admiration. I saw 
her look very earnestly, as she passed his chair, 
at the young secretary, who, however, kept 
his eyes sullenly fixed on his papers; a cir 
cumstance which appeared to me to displease 
the young lady, who drew herself up arid 
proceeded to her father, to whom she pre 
sented the cup, which, with sundry wry faces, 
he swallowed; and then giving her a kiss, and 

VOL. II. 16 


calling her ' his dear Alicia, 1 he dismissed her 
from the apartment. 

" The old gentleman now gave me to un 
derstand that he accepted my services, bade 
me write my name on a book before the se 
cretary, whom he ordered to advance me a 
sum of money, being a part of his bounty, 
which Connor immediately did; and I found 
myself enlisted, for such was the term the old 
soldier applied to the engagement, in his ' pri 
vate broad-horn service,' so Colonel Storm 
called it, to be attached to Boat No. 1, in 
the capacity of rifleman, oarsman, and, indeed, 
all other capacities, as might be necessary. I 
was ordered to present myself at the boat on 
the following morning, and hold myself in 
readiness to depart within two days, and then 
took my leave. 

" While I was leaving the room, there en 
tered a gentleman, with whose appearance I 
was very much struck. He was a tall, elegant 
man, thirty years old, wore a half-military 
suit of clothes, finely made, had bright eyes, 
and long black hair, which he wore without 
powder, and, in short, had every air of a gal 
lant soldier and distinguished gentleman. I 
heard Colonel Storm, who received him with 
much warmth and cordiality, though grinning 


at the moment under a paroxysm of pain, sa 
lute him by the name of Captain Sharpe; and 
I observed that while he bowed, which he did 
very politely in passing, to Connor the secre 
tary, the latter, though he bent his head in 
return, gave him a look as black as midnight. 
It was evident he was no friend of Connor, 
or Connor no friend of him. 







" THESE things, which I mention so par 
ticularly now, because they have an intimate 
connection with my story, struck me with 
some interest at the time. And having, be 
sides, a natural curiosity to know something 
of the individuals who were to be my com 
panions in the voyage, I made inquiries con 
cerning them of sundry persons better ac 
quainted with their history than myself, though 
without acquiring much more than I already 

" The young man, Connor, I learned, was 
a dependant and protege of the Colonel, a 
son of a poor soldier, for his origin was no 
higher, who had, in some way or other, 


managed to lose his life in saving that of the 
Colonel. The latter, from gratitude to his 
preserver, extended his protection to the sol 
dier's boy, whom he had reared up and edu 
cated in his own house, and almost adopted 
as his own child. I was assured, he always 
had been, and was still, a great favourite with 
the old gentleman, who was extremely fond 
of him; but then the Colonel was a whimsical 
and violent tempered man, and the gout had, 
of late, made him a hundred times more 
wayward and irascible than ever, so that it 
was scarce possible for any one about him, 
but his own daughter, to endure his furious 
attacks of ill-humour. Connor was, from his 
position continually near his person, more 
exposed to suffer from his wrath than others; 
but Connor had arrived at an age, when, be 
ginning to be conscious of his dependant con 
dition, he was naturally the more intolerant 
of unkindness. The Colonel had twitted him 
in my presence with certain effeminate pro 
pensities, a love of books, music, female 
society, &c., and neglect of all manly accom 
plishments; which the young man must have 
felt as the more unreasonable, since it was 
represented that the Colonel hadjiimself, by 
scarce ever allowing the favourite out of his 


sight, prevented his acquiring the active 
habits he commended, and compelled him into 
those effeminate ones which he condemned. 

" But with all the scolding and fault-finding 
he was forced to endure, I was assured, Con 
nor was as much beloved as ever, and that 
there was more than a probability the Colonel 
would, some day, prove his affection by ma 
king him his son in reality, that is, by giving 
him his fair daughter Alicia to wife. 

" Of Captain Sharpe, all I could learn was, 
that he was a very gallant officer, a South 
Carolinian, and son of an old military friend 
and brother-in-arms of Colonel Storm, who 
had stumbled upon him by accident in Pitts- 
burg, and received him to his friendship as a 
worthy son of his old comrade. What had 
brought such a fine gentleman as Captain 
Sharpe to the frontier did not so clearly ap 
pear; though some said it was because of an 
unfortunate duel with a brother officer, which, 
being of very recent occurrence, had com 
pelled the surviver to banish himself for a 
time from society and the world. I must 
confess, that 1 heard some uncharitable per 
sons hint a suspicion that Captain Sharpe 
was not in all respects the honourable and 
exemplary personage his fine appearance 


seemed to show; and of this opinion, it ap 
peared, was young Connor, the secretary, 
who, I was informed, had got himself into a 
difficulty with his hot-headed protector, by 
acquainting the latter with his suspicions; 
for, it seemed, the veteran had been capti 
vated by the soldier, 'a man,' as he called 
him, ' after his own heart,' and would endure 
no imputations against his honour, however, 
to appearance, reasonable and just. Of this 
I had myself, after a time, very good proof, 
as I shall presently relate. 

" Having thus obtained all the information 
to be then acquired, and visited the Colonel's 
boats, to make the acquaintance of my fellow 
engages, my affairs settled, and some money 
again in my pocket, I turned about, like a 
lad of spirit, to see how I could spend my 
few days of liberty to the best advantage. 
It happened that a ball, got up by the garri 
son officers and others, the gentry of the 
town, was to take place that night; and to 
this, being blessed with an equal stock of 
simplicity and assurance, I resolved to go, 
not having the least suspicion that my ap 
pearance there could involve any improprie 
ty. With a good coat on my back, I felt 
myself equal to any body; and my border 


breeding had taught me but little of the dis 
tinctions of society. 

" To the ball I accordingly went; and, as 
it was held in the big room of a hotel, was 
by no means managed with the tender solici 
tude to keep out intruders that now prevails 
at such entertainments, and exhibited among 
its highly miscellaneous assemblage many in 
dividuals not a whit more genteelly dressed 
than myself, I neither found difficulty in mak 
ing my way into the room, nor, for a long 
time, of maintaining my position in it. 

" I must confess, that I was at first rather 
daunted by the appearance of the company, 
so much finer, notwithstanding an occasional 
departure from elegance, than any I had ever 
seen before; the dashing looks of the officers 
in their uniforms, of young civilians with pow 
dered heads and velvet breeches, and, above 
all, of the ladies arrayed in their silks and 
satins, their plumes, and ribands, and laces; 
and the fine music, for such it appeared to me, 
made by a military band, added to some half 
a dozen fiddles, had also its effects in abash 
ing and embarrassing me; and had any body 
at that moment made objection to my intru 
sion, I have no doubt I should have sneaked 
quietly out of the room, conscious, for the 


first time, that I had stumbled into society 
quite above my condition. 

" But no one noticed me, and my embar 
rassment -began gradually to wear away; and 
besides, I fell upon a means of recruiting my 
courage in a still more expeditious and effec 
tual way. I observed that many of the gen 
tlemen dancers, after handing the usual ball 
room refreshments to their partners, turned 
up their own noses at them that is, not at 
their partners, but the refreshments and 
slyly slipped down stairs to the bar of the 
hotel, where more manly refreshments were 
to be had. Perceiving this, and not knowing 
what I could better do than imitate my bet 
ters, I slipped down likewise, and. sorry I am 
to say, not once only, but several times; so 
that, in the end, my modesty took to itself 
wings, and I found myself as bold as a lion 
and happy as a lord; in short, entirely beside 
myself. It must be recollected, that I was a 
young and ignorant booby, who, besides being 
just let loose upon the world, and therefore 
incapable of taking care of myself, possessed 
a brain none of the strongest for resisting 
generous liquors. 

" My first glass infused such courage into 
my veins, that I was able to look boldly 


around me upon the assembly, here giving a 
gentleman a stiff look, and there staring a 
lady out of countenance. While thus en 
gaged, my eyes fell by chance upon my em 
ployer's daughter, the fair Alicia, who, it 
seemed, was present, and, indeed, was con 
sidered the great beauty of the ball. She was 
about to dance a minuet, and, as it proved, 
with Captain Sharpe, who led her into the 
middle of the room; where space was imme 
diately made for them, the company cluster 
ing eagerly around, as if expecting to witness 
an uncommon display of elegant dancing. 
Nor were they deceived. I had never before 
seen such a dance as a minuet; the measures 
which I had learned to tread being confined 
to jigs and reels, and the still more primitive 
double-shuffle. I saw a minuet, therefore, 
for the first time, and, as it happened, danced 
by as superb a pair of creatures as ever 
trode a ball-room floor, or walked through 
the mazes of that dance, the most dignified 
and beautiful ever invented. Every body 
was in raptures at the spectacle, and when 
the dance was over, many clapped their 
hands, and cried Bravo and Brava; while I 
myself, being as much intoxicated with de 
light as the rest, cried aloud, ' Hurrah for 


pretty-toes!' (meaning the fair Alicia,) ' go it 
ag'in for God's sake!' It was fortunate that 
the plaudits of the company, which were loud 
and numerous, drowned my voice, and so 
prevented the compliment outraging the ears 
of the beautiful dancer, or, indeed, reaching 
those of any other person. 

" After this, I frequently observed the 
Colonel's daughter, who was, during the 
whole evening, so closely besieged by Cap 
tain Sharpe, that no one else seemed able to 
approach her; and I thought to myself, thinks 
I, ' if we don't get them boats off in no time, 
the sodger will have the gal from the secre 
tary, or there an't no moonshine.' Verily, 
the Captain seemed pleased with the lady, 
and the lady with the Captain. 

" It was no very long time after this that 
I reached that grand acme of courage of 
which I have spoken; and being tired of play 
ing the looker-on, I resolved to have a dance 
as well as my betters. So, having paid 
another visit to the bar, I returned to the 
ball-room to select a partner; and, as the 
Old Imp, the father of impudence, would have 
it, who so proper to serve my turn as the 
queen of the ball, the lovely Alicia. I can't 
pretend to recollect what were precisely the 


thoughts and feelings which at that moment 
crowded my conceited noddle; but, I believe, 
I had a kind of impression that, from hav 
ing seen her, during the audience with her 
father, I had quite a right to claim her 
acquaintance. At all events, I remember 
well enough, that I marched up to her, and 
making a bow and scrape, that unfortunately 
swept a lieutenant of infantry off his legs, 
besides some damage done to the skirts of a 
lady's dress, ' begged to ax the honour to go 
a jig with her.' She started up, looking as 
proud and haughty as a peacock, and gave 
me such a bitter stare as I never thought 
could come from such amiable eyes. I felt 
quite incensed at her, thinking myself in 
sulted; and no doubt should have told her so; 
had not a great confusion suddenly arisen 
among the gentlemen, some of whom asked 
4 who the drunken scoundrel was, and how 
he got in?' while others swore ' I was a ras 
cally boatman,' and ' must be kicked out.' 
A tall officer, with two epaulettes on, seized 
me by the shoulders, to hustle me out; 
whereupon I knocked him down; a favour 
that was repaid with interest by half a dozen 
others, who fell upon me, amidst a confusion 
of shrieks irom the women and outcries from 


the men; which is the last I recollect of the 
adventure; for what with kicks and cuffs, of 
which I received an abundance, and a tumble 
down the stairs, that terminated the contro 
versy, I was soon deprived of all sense and 

VOL. II. 17 






" I RECEIVED, in short, a terrible drubbing, 
which was doubtless no more than I merited, 
though more than I afterwards found agreea 
ble. I did not entirely and satisfactorily, indeed, 
recover my wits until the next day, when I 
found myself in bed, where I had been depo 
sited by some good-natured souls, and from 
which it was more than a week before 1 found 
myself able to rise again so soundly and tho 
roughly had I been threshed for my imperti 
nence. Nor do I believe I should have 
escaped so soon, had it not been for young 
Connor, the Secretary, who, with all his 
faults, was a very kind and humane youth; 
and, although I had no more claim upon him 
than I derived from being in the service of 


his patron, was very attentive in visiting me 
and administering to my wants, during the 
time that I lay sick and suffering, and ne 
glected by every body else. His goodness 
made a strong impression upon my feelings, 
and I swore I would requite it with my 
life-blood, if necessary. In truth, it gained 
my heart entirely. I learned from him a 
piece of information which was the more 
agreeable to me, as I feared my misfortune 
would cause me to lose my commission in 
the broad-horn service that there was no 
fear of my being left' behind, the voyage 
having been put off for a time in consequence 
of my commander's sickness, Colonel Storm 
being laid upon his back like me, but laid by 
a different cause that is, by a new fit of the 
gout. And, indeed, I was entirely restored 
before he recovered sufficiently to begin the 
voyage ; which was not until two weeks after 
the day of my enlistment. 

" In the mean while,! found myself a second 
time with leisure on my hands, and as much 
disposition as ever to enjoy it. I made se 
veral new friends, whom, however, warned 
by past experience, I did not seek for in a 
ball-room, nor among those elegant person 
ages, who, I began to perceive, were, or were 


resolved to consider themselves, my superiors. 
At the start, I felt disposed to ask the friend 
ship of the gallant Captain Sharpe; I was 
now content to swear everlasting friendship 
with the Captain's man a scoundrelly fellow, 
who met my advances with extreme cordi 
ality, and immediately gambled me out of all 
my money. 

" This worthy individual, who had been a 
soldier, like his master a deserter from a 
British regiment in the revolution the even 
ing before the broad-horns got under way, 
treated me to a supper and a bowl of punch; 
in the course of which he acquainted me with 
sundry interesting particulars in relation to 
his master and himself, of which I had been 
before entirely ignorant. And, first, he gave 
me to understand, that his master, Captain 
Sharpe, had volunteered his agreeable society 
and valiant assistance to my employer, Colo 
nel Storm, in the voyage to Kentucky, having 
resolved to sail with us, out of pure regard 
for the Colonel, his father's friend; and, se 
condly, that he himself, Samuel Jones, the 
servant, could not countenance his master in 
any such doings, having a great aversion to 
Indians, and especially to Indians armed with 
tomahawks and scalping-knives. In brief, I 


found Mr. Samuel Jones was in great dread 
of the perils of the voyage, which feeling he 
did all he could to infuse into my own mind. 
He had picked up every story, true and false, 
that was told of Indian atrocities committed 
on the Ohio; and to these he added legends 
of spectres, devils, and other sepernatural 
agents, by whom the voyager was often 
haunted and harassed, and, in spite of him 
self, driven into the hands of the savages. 
Thus, he had a story of a phantom warrior 
in a canoe, (supposed to be the ghost of old 
Bald Eagle, the Delaware Chief, whose man 
gled corse, set afloat by his murderer, forms 
a well-known and ghastfully picturesque in 
cident in border history,) who dogged the 
boats of emigrants, and by the mere terror 
of his presence, drove them into the ambush 
prepared by his living countrymen; and an 
other legend of a still more frightful spectre, 
a gory refugee, who, when the navigators 
slept, stole into their boats, and with their 
own oars, rowed them silently ashore, into 
the midst of their watchful enemies. 

"These strange stories, which had, I con 
fess, the effect of renewing my alarms to a 
certain extent, I remembered the more rea 
dily as I found they had made their way 


among my fellow-voyagers, and were after 
wards recalled to my mind by events that 
occurred during the descent. 

"Mr. Samuel Jones, having opened his 
heart by repeated applications to the bowl, 
did not refuse to carry his confidence still 
further; and he told me many curious things 
concerning his master and other persons, in 
cluding his excellent self, to which I should 
have perhaps attached more importance, had 
I not supposed the punch had made him po 
etical. He told me what I then considered 
a very preposterous story about his master; 
namely, that this exemplary gentleman and 
soldier, having broken his father's heart by 
evil courses, and abandoned, after meanly 
plundering of her property, a deserving but 
unhappy wife, (for, Jones assured me, his 
master was married,) had finished his villa- 
nies by debauching the wife of his best friend, 
and blowing out the husband's brains by way 
of reparation; to which latter exploits he 
owed his sudden exile to the back woods, a 
further residence in a civilized community 
having been thus rendered impossible. 

" This account, I repeat, I considered a 
mere invention of Mr. Jones. And in this 
opinion I was confirmed by his telling me 


sundry stories concerning himself, which, had 
I believed them, would have proved him as 
thorough a rogue as his master. My in 
credulity, however, I soon found, was, in this 
latter particular, wholly misplaced; for Mr. 
Jones, who was so unwilling to dare the 
perils of the Ohio voyage, it was early next 
morning discovered, had left his master's 
service some time during the night, having 
previously taken the precaution to rob the 
gallant soldier of every valuable he possess 
ed. The only inconvenience resulting from 
this was, that Captain Sharpe was compelled 
to borrow all my generous employer's loose 
cash, to refit for the voyage, having no leisure 
left to look after the robber. Indeed, within 
an hour after the discovery of his loss was 
made that is, at sunrise that morning, the 
26th of April we unmoored our boats and 
were soon afloat upon the bosom of the Ohio. 







" OUR flotilla consisted of three boats, two 
of them of very large size, and somewhat 
overburthened with goods and cattle. That 
in which I was stationed, being the flag-ship, 
in which Colonel Storm commanded in per 
son, was somewhat smaller than the others, 
not so heavily laden, and in all respects bet 
ter fitted out a superiority which it doubt 
less owed to the presence of the fair Alicia, 
his daughter. It contained, besides the usual 
cabin for the shelter of the crew, a smaller 
one set apart for the use of the Colonel's 
daughter a sanctuary which none had the 
privilege of entering, save the commander 
himself, the lady's female attendants, and, 
sometimes, the gallant Captain Sharpe. The 


horses were divided between the larger boats; 
in fact, every thing on board of the comman 
der's boat seemed to have been arranged 
with a view to detract as little as possible from 
his daughter's comfort. The very crew 
seemed to have been selected with an eye to 
her approbation, consisting, besides four of 
the Colonel's oldest and most faithful negroes, 
of ten men, the soberest and best behaved of 
all his engages. There were nineteen souls 
in all on board the boat Colonel Storm, his 
daughter and two female servants, Captain 
Sharpe, and the fourteen men as above men 

" I was surprised, and somewhat discon 
certed, to find that my friend Connor was not 
in the Colonel's boat; but reflecting that the 
latter had not yet entirely recovered from his 
gout, and was, indeed, as fretful and irascible 
as man could be, I thought in my heart 
that the younker had shown his good sense 
by entering, as I did not doubt he had done, 
one of the other boats. What was my as 
tonishment to learn, which I did towards the 
close of the day, that Connor was not with 
the party at all that he had left the Colo 
nel's service nay, that he had been ignomin- 
iously driven from it, in consequence of a 


rupture with his patron on the preceding day. 
This I learned from some of the men whom 
I heard whispering the matter over among 
themselves, but who were too little informed 
on the subject to be able to acquaint me with 
all the particulars. It seemed, however, that 
the quarrel had, in some way, grown out of a 
dispute the secretary had had with Captain 
Sharpe, in the course of which swords had 
been drawn between them; though what had 
so embittered these doughty champions 
against one another, no one pretended to 
say. All the men knew was, that the blame 
was thrown upon Connor that Colonel 
Storm had taken part against him, and im 
mediately turned him adrift; since which, no 
thing had been heard of him by any of the 

" This intelligence filled me with concern; 
and such was my affection for the young man, 
who I was sure (without knowing any thing 
about it) had been harshly and unjustly treated 
that I was, for a time, more than half inclined 
to jump ashore, and return to Pittsburg, for the 
purpose of seeking him out and offering him 
my services. But, having mentioned the design 
to some of my comrades, they gave me so 
dismal an account of the difficulties and dan- 


gers from Indians, which, even at so short a 
distance from Pittsburg, I should encounter 
in making my way along the river, that I was 
frighted out of my purpose, and determined, 
although reluctantly to remain where I was. 

" As the young man's misadventure arose 
from his quarrel with Captain Sharpe, I con 
tracted, from that moment, a strong dislike to 
the latter, who, it appeared to me, had ousted 
Connor, only to step into his shoes to take 
his place in the affections of the grum old 
Colonel, and, for aught I could tell, in those 
of his daughter too. I still could not give 
my belief to the stories told me of Captain 
Sharpe by his servant; it seemed impossible 
such things should be true of so elegant a 
gentleman. Nevertheless, I bore them in mind, 
resolved, if it should appear that Captain 
Sharpe was actually making love to the fair 
Alicia, to make her parent fully acquainted 
with them. 

" In this, I must confess, I had in view the 
mortification of Captain Sharpe, rather than 
the advantage of the Colonel's daughter, for 
whom I felt, at first, no very friendly regard. 
I remembered her haughty and scornful looks 
at the ball, which I had not yet entirely for 
given; and my disgrace and discomfiture on 


that occasion, I considered as entirely owing 
to her. Besides, as I was now conscious of 
the distance fate had placed between us, I 
was, at the beginning of the voyage, in con 
tinual fear, lest she should recognise me and 
make me the butt of her ridicule; an appre 
hension, however, I soon ceased to entertain, 
being satisfied she had quite forgotten me. 

" I will here add, that my dislike to the 
young lady wore, of itself, rapidly away; for, 
first, it was impossible I should indulge ill will 
against a creature so young and lovely; and, 
secondly, I perceived there was something on 
her mind that rendered her unhappy some 
thing made visible on her face by a sadness 
that seemed to me to grow deeper day by 
day. I fancied the cause might be regret for 
the absence and misfortunes of Connor; a 
conceit that wonderfully raised her in my es 

" It happened, at the time when we began 
our voyage, that the river had fallen for the 
season unusually low; so that some of the 
knowing persons in Pittsburg, considering the 
size and weight of the Colonel's boats, had 
advised him to wait for a rise of the waters; 
a piece of advice of which he took no notice, 
though other emigrants who were ready 


to depart, postponed their voyage accord 

" We were not long in discovering that 
we gained little but trouble by being in a 
hurry; for, besides that we got along but slow 
ly, and with hard rowing, in consequence of 
the gentle current, we were perpetually driving 
aground, some one boat or the other, upon 
bars, and sandbanks, from which it was a 
work of time and labour to escape. Indeed, 
one of the boats we found it impossible to 
get from a bar, on which she had grounded 
some dozen miles or so above Wheeling; and 
as, from her proximity to this settlement, and 
her position in the middle of the river, it was 
not thought she was in any danger from the 
savages, the crew consented to remain in her, 
waiting for a flood, and also for the fleet it 
was expected to bring down from Pittsburg, 
with which they were to descend the river. 
We of the other boats, sick of our labours at 
the oar, rather envied the happy dogs whom 
we left taking their ease on the bar, with the 
prospect, in a few days, of resuming their 
voyage, borne along by the swelling current, 
without any toil of their own: nevertheless 
these happy personages, as we afterwards 
discovered, were, two nights after we left 

VOL. II. 18 


them, set upon by savages where they lay; 
and not one of them escaped to, tell the story 
of their fate. 

" Nor was that our only loss. Two nights 
after perhaps at the very moment when our 
friends of the stranded boat were dying under 
the axes of their Indian assailants the re 
maining large boat ran upon a snag, by which 
she was rendered a complete wreck, and we 
were compelled to abandon her. It was only 
by the greatest exertions we were so fortu 
nate as to rescue the more valuable portions 
of her cargo, including two of the Colonel's 
finest horses, which we succeeded in trans 
ferring to our own boat: the others we left to 
their fate, after knocking away the side of 
the boat, and driving them into the river, 
whence they all swam to the shore, and 
doubtless soon found Indian masters. The 
crew, consisting of thirteen persons, was add 
ed to our own, which was thus increased to 
thirty-two souls a number so greatly dis- 
proportioned to the size of our boat, that they 
were not received without the greatest incon 
venience. But this we cared for the less, as 
we expected soon to reach the new settlement 
of. Marietta, at the mouth of the Muskingum, 
where it was intended to put some of our su- 


perfluous men ashore, to wait for the boat 
we had left behind. 

" We reached Marietta the next day, and 
got rid of eight of the wrecked crew, retain 
ing five, of whom two were slaves belonging 
to our commander in chief, the others enga 
ges. Remaining at Marietta during the night, 
we set out next morning under what might 
have been considered favourable auspices. 
The most important of these was a sudden 
swell of the river, which rose several feet 
in the night, and was still rapidly rising, 
when we cast off from the shore. We had 
thus a prospect of making our way by the 
mere force of the current, and so escaping, 
for the remainder of the voyage, the drudgery 
of the oar; besides clearing all rifts and sand 
bars, of which we had already had experience 
more than enough. We set out, moreover, 
with such a crew as might be supposed to 
secure us a perfect exemption from Indian 
attacks thirteen engages, all well armed, 
and acquainted with arms, though no more 
than one of them had ever faced an Indian 
in battle; together with five able-bodied ne 
gro men, whom the Colonel had provided 
with muskets, and who could doubtless use 
them after some fashion; not to speak of the 


Colonel himself, who was too gouty for active 
service, and Captain Sharpe, who, we had 
no doubt, would fight when the time came, 
though, at present, as it appeared, more 
earnestly bent upon making himself agreea 
ble to the commander's daughter than upon 
preparing for war. 

With a military commander on board, 
(though sorely incapacitated for command,) 
it may be supposed, our forces were organ 
ized upon somewhat a military foundation. 
We were, at least divided into watches, each 
of which under its captain, appointed by Colo 
nel Storm, had its regular turn of duty, both 
by day and by night. 






" THESE circumstances the swell of the 
river and our undoubted strength removed 
from the breasts of many the effects of an 
unfavourable occurrence, of which I have not 
yet spoken. It will be remembered, that ho 
nest master Jones had informed me of the 
river being haunted by a spectral Indian in a 
canoe, whose appearance was the forerunner, 
if not the cause, of disaster; and that our 
boatmen had also been made acquainted with 
the legend. The night before we reached 
Marietta, such a spectre was seen, and seen 
by all on board that is to say, a canoe with 
a human shape in it, dogging us at a consider 
able distance behind, and dogging us all night 
long. The watch, at first surprised, and then 


alarmed, woke up their sleeping companions; 
and, as I said, all on board saw it, though all 
were not, perhaps, of the same opinion in re 
gard to its character. The superstitious de 
clared it could be nothing less than the phan 
tom of which so much had been told: while 
even those who denied its spectral nature, 
could explain the phenomenon only by sup 
posing it was the boat of some Indian spy, 
whose cut-throat companions were lying in 
wait somewhere nigh at hand. 

" Captain Sharpe, to whom we commonly 
looked as our acting commander, (Colonel 
Storm being seldom able to come on deck,) 
upon being called up, laughed at us for a pack 
of ' cowardly noodles,' as he very politely 
called us, declared we saw nothing but a float 
ing log, or at best, a drift canoe certainly, 
he vowed ' there was no man in it' and or 
dered us to back oars a little, to let it float 
by. Unfortunately for the Captain's expla 
nation, the moment the broad-horn ceased to 
move, that moment the canoe, also, became 
stationary; and some of us swore we could 
hear the dip of the paddle by which it was 
brought to a stand and made to stem the cur 
rent. ' Ghost or no ghost,' said Captain 
Sharpe, dryly enough , ' it can do us no harm, 


so long as it keeps at a distance. If it 
comes nearer, hail it; and if it make no an 
swer, let it have a taste of your rifles.' With 
these words, and a desperate yawn, that cut 
the last word in two, and kept it some forty 
seconds in the utterance, the gallant soldier 
went down to his mattress, treating the ghost 
-with a degree of contempt nobody else could 
summon to his assistance. The ghost for 
so the majority were resolved to consider the 
appearance was well watched during the 
night: it kept at a highly respectful distance, 
and at, or before daylight, it suddenly vanish 
ed away. 

14 The night after we left Marietta, which 
was very dark and cloudy, the phantom again 
appeared, and caused as much discussion, and, 
among some, as much alarm as before; the 
more so, perhaps, as, when first discovered, 
it was found to be much nearer to us than on 
the former occasion; a degree of audacity 
which those on deck, the men of the second 
watch, rewarded by a volley of rifle-bullets, 
according to Captain Sharpe's instructions; 
forgetting, however, the important prelimi 
nary of hailing the mysterious voyager. The 
effect of the volley was very happy, as boat 
and boatman instantly vanished from view, 


and were no more seen: for which reason no 
one, not even Captain Sharpe himself, found 
fault with the men for only half obeying his 

" The disappearance of the phantom re 
stored us all to good humour; and, conscious 
now of our strength, conscious, too, of our 
security on the top of the flood, by which we 
were so rapidly borne upon our voyage, with 
no necessity before us except that of keeping 
our boat in the centre of the river, and so 
out of all danger of Indian bullets from the 
shore, we began to laugh at past terrors, and 
assure each other that the voyage to Ken 
tucky was by no means the dreadful thing it 
was represented to be. 

" From this state of things it is not sur 
prising there resulted a certain degree of 
carelessness among the men in the night- 
watches; who, feeling that the hand at the 
steering-oar could perform all the duty sup 
posed to be requisite to their safety that is, 
of keeping the boat in the mid-channel very 
frequently took advantage of the watch-hours 
to throw themselves on the deck and steal a 
pleasanter nap than could be enjoyed in the 
crowded cabin below. And this kind of watch 
ing, I confess, on two or three occasions, I 
practised with great satisfaction myself. 







" IN due course of time, and without fur 
ther accident, we arrived at the little French 
settlement of Gallipolis; which, being the last 
upon the river before reaching the Kentucky 
settlements, was always a . stopping-place, 
where the emigrant obtained fresh stores of 
provisions, perhaps; but, certainly, the last 
news of Indian knaveries on the river below. 
At this place, it was resolved to remain for 
a day and night, in the hope of being joined 
by our stranded boat. The time was passed 
by all attached to the broad-horn in such 
frolics and diversions ashore as suited their 
several humours. Even the fair Alicia, who, 
by this time, was growing visibly thin and 
pale a misfortune which her father, himself 


heartily sick of a broad-horn voyage, attri 
buted to the confinement of the boat was 
prevailed upon to take several rambles on 
shore, in which she was attended by Captain 
Sharpe, now, as every body could see, a fixed 
favourite of her father, and, as every body 
imagined, of the lady likewise. But it was 
observable that Miss Storm never went ashore 
without having one of her women also with 

" Rambling along the river myself, it was 
my fate to stumble upon this little party, at 
a moment when Captain Sharpe had taken 
advantage of a momentary separation of the 
fair Alicia from her servant, to drop^upon his 
knees, and pour into her tender ears a violent 
declaration of love. Not that I pretend to 
have overheard his actual expressions, for I 
was too far from the pair for that, besides 
beating a retreat the moment I discovered 
them, without their having noticed me; but, 
as I saw him on his knees, in an extremely 
elegant posture of adoration, I had no right 
to doubt what kind of prayers he was making. 
How the lady received his vows, whether 
favourably or not, I had no means of knowing 
or discovering, being in as great a hurry to 


get out of the way as Captain Sharpe, per 
haps, was to win the lady's heart. 

" Having no longer any doubt that the 
handsome soldier had really formed the design 
of becoming the son-in-law of my command 
er, and remembering Jones's story of his mar 
riage, as well as my resolution to make Co 
lonel Storm acquainted with it, if necessary, 
I immediately returned to the boat; where 
the old gentleman, incapable of leaving it, 
was growling over his pangs, and, to my 
surprise, invoking all kinds of maledictions 
upon Connor, ' for deserting him,' as he ex 
pressed it, in a grumbling soliloquy, 'in the 
midst of his torments and cares.' 

" ' Sir,' said I, pouncing upon him without 
ceremony, and thinking this a favourable 
opportunity to open my communication, ' I 
thought, and so did every body else, you 
turned off Mr. Connor yourself!' 

" * What's that your business, you scoun 
drel?' said^he, as if enraged at my presump 
tion: 'who gave you leave to talk to rne 
about Tom Connor, or any thing else?' 

"* Nobody gave it I take it,' said I; 'and 
I reckon, that, in turning off Mr. Connor, 
you got rid of just as good a friend and 
honest a servant as was ever misused in a fit 



of passion that's my notion. And I reckon, 
moreover, that, in putting Captain Sharpe 
into his place, you have helped yourself to a 
bit of snake-flesh, that will have a snap at 
you, rale viper-fashion, or at some body you 
love as well as yourself, some day, there's no 
doubt on it.' 

" ' What, you dog !' cried Colonel Storm, 
seeming both incensed and astonished, ' are 
you abusing Sharpe, too?' 

" ; I didn't know,' said I, 'that any body 
had ever said any thing against him. But, I 
tell you what, Colonel Storm not to make 
a long story about it Captain Sharpe is 
making love to Miss 'Lishy; and it seems to 
be generally agreed among us as how you 
intend to give her to him.' 

" Well, you brazen rascal !' roared Colonel 
Storm, looking as if he would eat me, how 
does that concern you?'' 

" I had, by this time, got too well accus 
tomed to the commander's mode of convers 
ing with his people, when in a passion, to 
take offence at his expressions; and, therefore, 
replied, with as much equanimity as when I 
began the conversation, ' 1 don't see that it 
concerns me much, any way, Colonel; but, I 


rather reckon, it concerns a very amiable 
young lady; and her honour ' 

" ' Her honour, you dog! Do you dare 
talk to me about my daughter's honour?' 
cried the old gentleman, with increasing fury. 

" ' Colonel? said I, 4 it don't signify being 
in such a passion, and calling me hard names: 
I just mean to tell you, that, if you give 
Captain Sharpe your daughter, she will get a 
husband who happens to have one wife, 
perhaps half a dozen of 'em, already.' 

" ' You lie, you thief!' said the veteran, 
catching at his crutch, I believe, with the 
full intention of knocking me on the head; a 
catastrophe which, supposing I should have 
permitted it to be attempted, which I was 
not disposed to do, was prevented by the 
sudden appearance of the young lady; who, 
still attended by Captain Sharpe, at that mo 
ment entered the boat and the cabin where I 
had sought her parent. The angry old gen 
tleman's eyes flashed with double rage, as 
soon as they fell upon the soldier; but, as it 
happened, it was with rage not at the latter: 
' Here, Sharpe, you thief,' he cried, ' here's 
the old story over again! Knock the villain's 
brains out Swears you are married!' 

" ' At these words, the daughter, who, 

VOL. II. 19 


seeing her father's wrath, was on the point 
of stealing away to her own cabin, turned 
round with a look of astonishment and in 
quiry. * Same old story Tom Connor got up 
lying rascal!' continued the veteran: 'wife 
already, poor deserted woman, broken 
hearted. Rascally invention. Tumble the 
dog into the river!' 

" 'I beg,' said Captain Sharpe, looking for 
a moment a little confused, but soon recover 
ing his composure, ' I beg Miss Storm will 
retire a moment, while I inquire into this odd 

" Miss Storm gave the Captain a searching, 
I thought even a scornful though calmly 
scornful look, and then stepped up to her 
father, upon whose shoulder she laid her 
hand, gazing him earnestly and sadly in the 
face. ' Father,' she said, ' the position in 
which I have been placed need I say, by 
yourself? in relation to Captain Sharpe, en 
titles me to inquire into any charges affecting 
his honour. I waive the right: I do not even 
ask you, my father, to act upon it. But I 
must be satisfied upon one point. You drove 
from you an old and once trusted friend, 
Connor: and it seems, (although you never 
acquainted me with it,) that he preferred 


charges against Captain Sharpe; in short, 
the very charges which, it seems, this young 
man brings against him. Father! was it be 
cause of these charges you discarded poor 

" ' Ay!' grumbled the veteran; * told lies 
of the Captain: all slander and malice.' 

" 4 It is enough,' said the lady; and then 
added, ' Slander and malice never stained 
the lips of Thomas Connor.' 

" ' Spoken like a true-hearted gal!' said I, 
vastly delighted to find the poor secretary 
had another friend beside myself in the boat: 
6 And as for this here story about Captain 
Sharpe's wife, I hold it to be as true as gos 
pel, 'cause how, his own man Jones told 
me!' ; % 

" ' Excellent authority on which to damn 
a man's reputation, certainly, that of his 
own robbing, runaway lackey !' cried Captain 
Sharpe, with a laugh; and then requested 
that Miss Storm would ' remain and hear all 
that the fellow (meaning me) had to say 
against him.' 

" ' It is neither necessary that I should 
hear, nor he say, any thing more against one 
who is now whatever else he may be 
my father's guest,' replied Miss Storm, calm- 


ly: * the subject may be more profitably re 
sumed hereafter. And I beg,' she added, 
* that neither my father nor Captain Sharpe 
will cherish any ill will against this young 
man, for bringing charges, which, however un 
founded they may be, had certainly their 
origin in good-will to my father, or to me.' 

" With these words, she retired to her lit 
tle apartment; and Colonel Storm, denounc 
ing me as 'a great impudent blockhead,' 
ordered me out of the cabin. As for Captain 
Sharpe, who, I expected, would have been 
thrown into a terrible rage, he burst into a 
laugh, as soon as Miss Alicia departed, and 
told me I was ' a very simple fellow, but 
would grow wiser hereafter,' a mode of 
treating my charges which somewhat lessened 
my own opinion of their justice. 

" And so ended my assault upon the honour 
and dignity of Captain Sharpe, in which, 
though I met with nothing but discomfiture, 
I had the good fortune, without, however, 
knowing it until some time afterwards, to 
make a friend of the fair Alicia. 






" THE next morning, having waited in vain 
for our lagging boat, we bade farewell to the 
settlers of Gallipolis, by whom we were ad 
vised to be on our guard during the remain 
der of the voyage; and especially to beware 
of the country about the mouth of the Scioto, 
where several doleful accidents had already 
happened, and where boats were so frequently 
attacked that it was suspected the savages 
had there formed a permanent post for the 
annoyance of emigrants. 

" We were told also to have a care against 
being led into danger by white men refu 
gees and renegades; who were accustomed 
to present themselves on the banks of the 
river, at the appearance of a boat, into which 


they piteously entreated to be taken, declar 
ing themselves captives just escaped from 
the Indians, or shipwrecked boatmen left 
helpless amid the horrors of the wilderness; 
which protestations, when hearkened to, com 
monly led the unsuspecting emigrant into an 
Indian ambush prepared for him on the shore, 
and thus to death or captivity. This pecu 
liar caution had been several times before en 
forced upon us at the settlements we had pre 
viously visited; and we left Gallipolis with a 
full determination to be cajoled by no such 
villanous wiles, how craftily soever devised 
and practised. 

" We were now, as we had every reason 
to believe, much nearer to danger from the 
Indians than we had been before, in the high 
er regions of 4he Ohio: yet, it is certain, we 
left Gallipolis with less fear and anxiety 
among us than when we set out. We had, 
in fact, become accustomed to our boat, to 
the Ohio, to the solitude of the wilderness 
through which we floated, to the idea of dan 
ger, which we had conned over in our minds 
until we grew tired of it, and turned to hap 
pier and more cheerful thoughts. We were 
better navigators too, and understood our 
power of keeping ourselves out of mischief, 


by keeping our boat from the banks of the 
river, and so beyond the reach of Indian ri 
fles; and, besides, we were all learned in In 
dian wiles and stratagems, to know which 
was to know how to escape them. 

" And thus it happened, that we left Galli- 
polis with light hearts, and approached the 
scene where danger was most to be appre 
hended, with a degree of indifference amount 
ing almost to fatality. Such blind security, 
growing with increase of peril, and attended 
with every kind of carelessness and negli 
gence, was often found among the Ohio voy 
agers of that day, and was as often the cause 
of calamities, which a little common-sense 
solicitude would have enabled the unhappy 
adventurers easily to avoid. 

" The day on which we left Gallipolis prov 
ed, perhaps, the most agreeable of the whole 
voyage. It was now late in Spring; the wea 
ther was warm and genial, and the magnifi 
cent forests bordering the river were in full 
leaf and bloom, filling the eye with beauty 
and the nostrils with sweet odours. The 
evening was still more delicious, and was 
passed by the engages in mirth and jollity, in 
singing, and even in dancing; for which we 
had an incentive provided in a fiddle, sawed 


and clawed in the true old ' Virginny,' style 
by one of the Colonel's negroes. And in 
this kind of diversion we were freely indulged 
by our commander, because it seemed to 
amuse the mind of his fair daughter, who sat 
for awhile looking on the dance, smiling en 

" By and by, however, the weather chang 
ed, and a shower fell, which put an end to the 
untimely revelry; and the dancers retreated 
to the cabin and their beds, leaving the deck 
in possession of the usual watch of four men, 
of whom the one at the steering oar was the 
only one actually engaged in any duty. This 
first shower was but the precursor of others, 
which continued to fall at intervals during the 
night, and of a change from warm to very 
cold weather; so that, by and by, the deck 
lost many of its charms, even to the men of 
the watch, becoming, in truth, the most un 
comfortable part of the whole boat. I remem 
ber being vastly pleased at ending my own 
watch, which happened at midnight, and 
creeping down to a warm bunk in the cabin, 
where slumber was so many degrees more 
agreeable than in the cold wet air above. 

" Upon leaving Gallipolis, Captain Sharpe, 
who was often seized with fits of military 


fire and zeal, had thought proper to harangue 
the crew upon the dangers we ought now to 
expect to encounter, and exhort us to a care 
ful performance of all our duties, of which 
the night-watching was, as he justly observ 
ed, the most important; and as we should, in 
all probability, during the course of the fol 
lowing night, reach the mouth of the Scioto, 
which, all knew, was regarded as the most 
dangerous point of the whole navigation, he 
especially enjoined it upon us, this night, to 
watch in reality that is, to keep our eyes 
open and about us, instead of lying down to 
sleep, as we had been in the habit of doing 
for several nights past. And to encourage 
us in our duties, he declared that he intended 
for the future, or so long as danger should 
seem to threaten, to share them with us 
that is, to take part with us in the watch; 
and he accordingly appointed himself to the 
middle w r atch, the longest and dreariest of 
all, from midnight until four in the morning. 
" His zeal greatly delighted Colonel Storm, 
who swore, ' that was the way for a sol 
dier to behave;' though I cannot say it was 
equally agreeable to the boatmen. On the 
contrary, I heard a great deal of grumbling 
among them, upon this particular night, 


when, at the change of the watch, Captain 
Sharpe was heard getting up to join the next 
band of watchers. It was generally appre 
hended that the presence of the disciplined 
soldier would interfere with all the little ar 
rangements which the men might otherwise 
have taken to secure their own comfort. 
Happily for the grumblers, Captain Sharpe 
proved to be no such severe disciplinarian. 

" I retired to my bed, and there slept, per 
haps, three hours; when I was wakened by a 
terrible dream of Indians attacking the boat; 
which so disturbed and disordered my mind 
that I was not able to get to sleep again; and 
being weary of my cot, I got up, and crept to 
the deck, for the purpose of looking out upon 
the night. As I made my way through the 
cabin, in which was burning a little lamp, 
yielding a meagre light, I was astonished to 
perceive Captain Sharpe, with several in 
deed, as it afterward proved, all the men of 
his watch, lying sound asleep on the floor, 
having evidently slipt away, one after the 
other, from their duties on deck. 

" Although surprised at this dereliction on 
the part of the gallant soldier, especially after 
the great zeal he had displayed during the 
day, I was not at all concerned or alarmed, 


being of an opinion, which I had frequently 
expressed, when kept longer than I liked at 
the helm namely, that the boat could make 
her way down the river just as well without 
steering as with. Nevertheless, as the ex 
periment had never before been actually tried, 
I felt some curiosity to find how it succeeded; 
and accordingly stept immediately out on 
deck to see; which was a feat the less disa 
greeable as the showers were now over, the 
clouds had broken away, and the stars shin 
ing so brilliantly that objects nigh at hand 
could be pretty distinctly discerned. 

" Knowing that all the watch were in the 
cabin fast asleep, judge my astonishment to 
find, as I did, the moment I reached the deck, 
a human figure at the steering oar, and the 
boat within but half a dozen yards of the 
river-bank, upon which the unknown helms 
man seemed urging it with might and main; 
and fancy the terror that instantly seized me, 
when, looking upon the apparition, I discov 
ered the spectral refugee, (for who could it' 
be but he?) the hero of the ghost story, who, 
with a person all ghastly to behold, and a 
visage bound with a bloody handkerchief, 
and cadaverously resembling my poor dis 
carded friend, Tom Connor's, had stolen into 


the boat, and was now driving it furiously 

" At this sight, I was seized with a terri 
ble panic, as may be supposed, and uttering 
a yell that instantly roused every soul on 
board, leaped from the deck among my com 
rades, who came tumbling out, some shriek 
ing ' Indians!' and others asking what was 
the matter. I told them we were going 
ashore, and that a ghost was at the helm; 
upon which two thirds of them ran back into 
the cabin, where they fell upon their knees 
and cried for mercy, while others, bolder or 
more curious, rushed upon the deck to have 
a view of the spectre. But the spectre was 
gone, entirely vanished away into air, or into 
the river; and the only evidence of his visit 
was seen as the broad-horn suddenly swept 
round a jutting point, which it almost touch 
ed, and then, borne onwards by a powerful 
current, shot again into the channel. 

" This extraordinary occurrence produced, 
as may be imagined, an extaordinary ferment; 
in the midst of which I was summoned to the 
presence of the commander in chief; with 
whom I found the fair Alicia, looking wild 
with fright, and also Captain Sharpe, the lat 
ter busily engaged in assuring Colonel Storm, 


for I overheard him, as I approached, that 
* all was well nothing was the matter, only 
an uproar made by a man roused from his 
sleep by the nightmare.' 

" ' You saw a ghost, you loon?' said Colo 
nel Storm, turning from the soldier to myself; 
' what's the matter?' 

" Upon this, I told the veteran the whole 
story, not omitting the soldierly desertion of 
his post by the gallant Captain notwith 
standing that this .worthy gentleman made 
me many significant hints to hold my tongue 
among others, by touching his pocket with 
one hand and his lip with the other, as if to 
say, ' keep your peace, and you shall be well 
rewarded;' and then scowling like a thunder- 
gust, when he found I proceeded, without re 
garding his efforts to check me. 

" My relation produced a considerable ef 
fect both upon the old gentleman and his 
daughter; but it seemed to me, they were 
more struck by the exposure of Captain 
Sharpe's desertion of his post, than by any 
thing else, the lady looking upon him with 
mingled wonder and contempt, while the 
Colonel grumbled his displeasure aloud 
' Conduct for a court-martial Fine officer- 
like behaviour, by George, sir!' 
VOL. ii. 20 


" Captain Sharpe declared .' it was all a 
mistake a very unaccountable occurrence; 
protested he had not left the deck two min 
utes, and only left it to treat the watch, who 
were cold and wet, to a glass of liquor; and 
that it was a mere accident and inadvertence, 
if the helmsman left his post at the same time;' 
all which as unconscionable a falsehood as 
was ever uttered the worthy personage 
offered to prove by calling in the men; whose 
assertions, backed by his own word, ' he 
hoped Colonel Storm would think sufficient 
to disprove the charge of a single individual 
like me, especially after the veritable non 
sense I had just told them about the ghost.' 

" ' Humph ! ' said the Colonel, with a snort 
' what sort of a ghost was it?' 

" ' It was like Mr. Connor,' said I; ' only 
that it was pale and grim, and had a bloody 
handkerchief round its brows.' At which 
words, Miss Storm looked wilder than ever, 
and even the Colonel her father started, with 
a piteous * God bless my soul ! Hope nothing 
has happened the boy Never forgive myself, 
if he should haunt me !' 

" Here Captain Sharpe interfered, asking 
the Colonel with a laugh, ' if he really be 
lieved my ridiculous story? if he did not see 


that the poor lad' (meaning me,) ' had been 
dreaming; and that all I had seen, or thought 
I had seen, was mere visionary nothing.' In 
short, I believe he quite staggered the Colo 
nel; who, however, having finished examining 
me, ordered me out of the cabin; so that I 
never knew what was the result of Captain 
Sharpe's ingenious attempt to explain away 
his desertion of his duties on deck. 






" THE sensation produced by this adven 
ture on the crew was too deep to readily sub 
side, and they remained upon deck for the 
remainder of the night, now questioning me 
upon the particulars of the ghostly visitation, 
now speculating upon the consequences it 
foreboded; all of them agreeing, in the end, 
that it was an omen of some disaster, which 
must sooner or later, occur. There was no 
carelessness or negligence now; the helm was 
doubly manned, as were also our three pair 
of oars, at which the men voluntarily placed 
themselves, not indeed, to row, but ready to 
give way with all their force, at the first ap 
pearance of danger. 

" In this condition of things, we floated on- 


wards till the gray of dawn; at which period 
a fog began to settle on the river, obscuring, 
although not entirely concealing, the banks, 
the larger objects, as the hills and trees, being 
still partially discernible at the distance of 
one or two hundred yards. At this period 
also, we noticed an appearance upon the shore 
which immediately forced upon us the convic 
tion that the warning of the spectral ap 
pearance had not been made in vain. This 
was the sudden gleam of a fire on the right 
bank of the river, followed by a second, and 
this again by others; until, in fact, no less 
than six or seven different fires were seen 
faintly glimmering through the fog and dusk 
of morning. 

" It will be readily supposed that this ap 
pearance struck us all with alarm, as, indeed, 
it did. Not doubting that these portentous 
lights came from Indian watchfires, and that 
they were burning in the camp of which we 
had heard so much at Gallipolis, we immedi 
ately sent word down to our commander, and 
then, without waiting for orders, began to di 
rect the boat over towards the Virginia, or 
Kentucky side, taking care, however, to han 
dle our oars with as little noise as possible, 
not at all desiring to disturb the slumbers of 


the red barbarians, who, we doubted not, 
were lying stretched around the fires. 

" But there were vigilant watchers in the 
dreaded camp; and just as our commander, 
startled out of gout and incapacity by the 
sudden intelligence, hobbled out upon deck, a 
clear voice rang from the shore 4 Boat a- 
hoy!' and then hastily added ' If you are good 
Americans, hold oars a moment; we have 
good news for you and for all honest men 
to carry down to the settlements.' 

" ' You lie, you refugee rascal !' cried Colo 
nel Storm, with a voice louder than the hail- 
er's: ' Can't put any of your cursed tricks 
upon an old soldier. Handle your arms, men,' 
he added, addressing the crew, and still speak 
ing at the top of his voice; ' handle your 
arms, and give the villain a shot.' 

" ' Give me a shot!' exclaimed the stranger, 
with a tone of indignation ; ' why, who the 
devil do you take us to be?' 

" ' You. r quoth Colonel Storm, ' I take to 
be a white Indian a renegade ragamuffin 
from the settlements whose business is to 
decoy numskull emigrants into ambush; and 
your companions 1 take to be a knot of 
damnable savages, ripe for plunder and mur 


" ' Sir,' quoth the invisible speaker, ' you 
were never more mistaken in your life. We 
are white men, and soldiers a detachment 
of five hundred mounted men from the army 
at Fort Hamilton.' 

" ; Hah !' cried Colonel Storm, while all of 
us pricked our ears in amazement ' white 
men? a detachment from St. Clair's army? 
Who's your commander?' 

" ' Colonel Darke, of the Infantry,' was the 
immediate reply. 

" The name of this gallant officer, already 
well known as one of the best of St. Clair's 
lieutenants, completed our surprise, besides 
throwing Colonel Storm into a ferment of 
delight. ' Knew him of old were captains 
together at Monmouth!' he cried ; and imme 
diately after, having ordered the rowers to 
back oars, demanded ' what they the de 
tachment were doing, or had done there?' 
an inquiry which was, however, anticipated 
by the stranger crying ' We have broken 
up the Indian camp here fell upon the dogs 
this morning by daybreak took them by 
surprise, destroyed and captured fifty-three 
warriors, drowned a dozen or two more, with 
a loss on our own side of only eleven killed 
and wounded.' 


" ' Back oars; three cheers for Darke and 
his gallant men!' cried Colonel Storm, adding 
his own warlike voice to the lusty and joyous 
hurrahs, which we instantly set up. 

",' Now,' quoth our friend on shore,' you 
behave like men of sense ! I am on duty 
here to hail boats; by the first one of which 
that arrives, our commander desires to send 
the news of our victory to the settlements 
and the Commander-in-chief.' 

" ' Will bear his despatches, were it to the 
end of the earth!' cried Colonel Storm, with 

" ' And, perhaps,' said the officer-sentinel, 
for such he seemed, ' you could make room 
for a poor wounded officer young Darke, 
the Colonel's nephew whom the commander 
is anxious to send to the settlements?' 

" 4 Shall have my own bed !' roared our 
veteran chief; adding immediately a com 
mand to ' put the boat ashore;' an order 
which the crew, excited to rapture by the 
glorious news, received with loud cheers, and 
instantly put into execution. The prow was 
turned to the shore, and all that could seized 
at once upon the oars, urging the clumsy 
vessel across the current; while the stranger 
ran along the bank, directing us to the most 
advantageous point to land. 


" In two minutes, the broad-horn grated 
upon the sand, and three of our men, one of 
them holding a rope, leaped ashore to make 
her fast; the rest of us crowded together on 
the deck, looking eagerly for our new friends, 
those gallant spirits who had so effectually 
swept the banks of the dreaded Indians. 

" ' Three more cheers for Darke and his 
brave boys all!' roared Colonel Storm; at 
which words a great halloo was raised but 
not by us. It was the yell of a hundred sa 
vages, who suddenly started to life, leaping 
from among stones and bushes; and, giving 
out such whoops as were never before heard 
but from the lungs of devils incarnate, poured 
a sudden fire of rifles upon us, which, aimed 
at us, all clustered together on the narrow 
deck, and from the distance of only a few 
paces, wrought the most horrible carnage, 
killing, I verily believe, one-half of our whole 
number, and wounding, with but two or three 
exceptions, every other soul on board. And 
in the midst of it all, we could hear the voice 
of the fiendish renegade, to whose unparal- 
lelled duplicity we had thus miserably become 
the victims, exclaiming, with a taunting laugh, 
6 What do you think of the " cursed refugees' 
tricks" now, my fine fellows?' 






"'Pusn off!' cried Colonel Storm; but 
there were none to answer his call. The 
deck was occupied by the dead and the dying 
only; all who could move having leaped down 
below, where they lay, some groaning and 
bleeding to death, some uttering hurried pray 
ers, but all in a frenzy of terror, all trying to 
shelter themselves amongst bales and boxes 
from the shot, which the enemy, not yet con 
tent with slaughter, continued to pour into 
our wretched boat. Colonel Storm, himself 
struck down by a bullet through the thigh, 
lay amidst the rest; not, indeed, cowering or 
lamenting, but calling upon us, with direful 
oaths, now to ' push off, and handle the oars,' 
now to ' get up, like men, and give the dogs 


one taste of our gunpowder;' commands, 
which, however, no one regarded. 

" We had struck the land at a projecting 
point, and the strength of the current did for 
us the service our commander called upon us 
in vain to perform ; it swept us free from the 
bank, and we again floated down the tide 
but, alas, only for a moment. With men at 
the oars to take advantage of the boat's libe 
ration, we might have easily profited by this 
providential circumstance, and made our way 
again into the middle of the river, and thus 
to safety. But no one thought of daring the 
peril of those fatal bullets, which swept the 
deck and perforated our flimsy bulwarks of 
plank. The broad-horn was left to herself 
to the current, which, having swept her from 
the bank, in one moment more lodged her 
among the branches of a fallen tree, a gigantic 
sycamore, whose roots still embraced the 
bank, while its branches, stretched out like the 
arms of a huge polypus in the tide, arrested 
her in her flight, and held her entangled at 
the distance of twenty yards from the bank. 

" ' Is there a man in the boat?' yelled the 
disabled commander, perceiving this new 
misfortune, of which the Indians could be 
seen taking advantage, by endeavouring to 


make their way along the vibrating trunk to 
the boat; ' Is there a man who would rather 
take a wound, trying to save himself, by cut 
ting loose from that tree, than die cowering 
like a butchered dog, here in the bottom of 
the boat?' 

"Nobody replied, save by looks, which 
each directed upon the other, full at once of 
solicitation and horror. The Colonel's appeal 
was the signal for new yells and hotter vol 
leys from the shore, by the latter of which 
the two horses, whose furious kicks and 
struggles had added to the terror of the 
scene, were soon killed, affording a shelter by 
their bodies, behind which several of my com 
rades immediately took refuge. 

" ' Cowards!' roared Colonel Storm, ' will 
none of you make an effort to save your 

" He turned his eyes upon Captain Sharpe, 
who, one of the first to leap from the deck, 
now lay among the boxes, as pale as death, 
and glaring in what seemed to me a stupor of 
fear. ' Sharpe, by G !' cried Colonel Storm, 
in tones of fierce reproach and indignation, 
' do you call that acting like a soldier? Up 
like a man; take an axe and cut us loose or 
never more look on my daughter!' 


"Captain Sharpe made no other reply 
than by opening his eyes still wider upon the 
veteran, and looking even more ghastly than 
before; upon which, Colonel Storm, bursting 
into a terrible rage, reviled him in furious 
language, as a ' base dastard,' ' a mean sneak 
ing villain' in short, every thing that was 
vile and contemptible; all which the dishon 
oured soldier replied to only by the same un 
meaning and cadaverous stare. 

" In the meanwhile, the bullets were still 
showering among us like a driving rain, de 
stroying more lives, and wounding the wound 
ed over again; while the savages, whose ter 
rific yells were as incessant as the explo 
sions of their guns, were approaching on 
the sycamore, to carry the devoted broad- 
horn by boarding. 

" ' A hundred dollars a thousand!' cried 
Colonel Storm, looking around him with 
eyes of mingled wrath and entreaty; ; a thou 
sand dollars to any man who will cut loose 
that cursed bough that holds us! Hark, 
men! a thousand dollars! two thousand ten 
thousand all I am worth in the world! do 
you hear, dogs? all I am worth in the world. 
Do you hear me, villains? If the savages 
board us, they will murder my daughter. 
VOL. n. 21 


All I am worth in the world to him that saves 
her; ay, and herself, too! He that saves her 
shall have her to wife, with my whole fortune 
for her portion!' 

"I know not what effect these frenzied words, 
wrung by paternal anguish from the old sol 
dier, had in stimulating the spirits of those 
few in the boat who really possessed any 
power of resistance; but, certain it is, several 
of the men immediately betrayed a disposi 
tion to obey the Colonel's call, and attempt 
somewhat towards the salvation of their com 
panions. Wounded by a shot through my 
left arm. which was, however, not a serious 
hurt, and, as I confess, as much overcome 
by fright as the others, I felt a sudden cou 
rage start in my veins; though such was the 
disorder of my whole mind, that I know not 
in reality whether it was incited by the great 
prize offered by my commander, or by a feel 
ing of desperation, which, for a moment, took 
possession of me. I snatched up a rifle with 
one hand, and an axe with the other, and 
sprang to my feet, with the full intention of 
cutting the boat loose from the tree, or of 
perishing in the endeavour; in which resolu 
tion, however, I was forestalled by a fellow- 
boatman, named Parker, who sprang up be- 


fore me, exclaiming with a profane levity both 
singular and shocking, considering his situa 
tion ' A wife and a fortune, or death and 

d tion!' and leaped upon the forecastle, 

from which he immediately fell backwards a 
dead man, having received a rifle bullet 
directly through the heart. His fall quenched 
the fire of my own courage, filling me again 
with dismay; and firing off my piece at a 
yelling savage, whom I saw, at that very mo 
ment, stepping from the sycamore into the 
boat, I cowered away among the cargo, as 
before, without even waiting to see the effect 
of my shot." 

" ' Villains and cravens!' cried Colonel 
Storm, whom this mischance and failure 
seemed to drive into greater frenzy than be 
fore ' villains, who fear to face an Indian! 
here's work that will suit your cowardly 
spirits better: a thousand dollars to him that 
will enter the cabin, and blow my daughter's 
brains out! It is better she should die now 
than by the scalping-knife of an Indian!' 







" I HAVE no doubt, that in this hideous 
proposal, the poor distracted father, incapa 
ble of rising or moving, and, therefore, of 
yielding his daughter any protection, was 
quite in earnest; but, of course, this call was 
as little likely to be obeyed as the other; though 
it stung me into something like shame, that 
among so many men as we had still alive in 
the boat, there should not be one able or 
willing to strike a blow on behalf of a young 
and helpless woman. This shame nerved me 
anew with a kind of courage, which I had im 
mediately an opportunity of employing to 
advantage; although certain I am, it must 
have soon died away under the horrors that 


followed, had not aid and encouragement 
reached us from an unexpected quarter. 

"Three Indians suddenly made their ap 
pearance at the bow of the boat, of whom 
one was still clambering among the shaking 
branches of the sycamore, while the two 
others sprang, with loud whoops, upon the 
forecastle. I fired my piece, which I had re 
charged at the first pulse of excitement, at 
the foremost Indian, who fell down among 
us in the agonies of death; while a second 
shot, fired by some unknown hand from the 
river, took effect on his comrade, who also 
fell dead. At the~same moment, there sprang 
into the boat a figure in which I recognised, 
at the first glance could I believe my eyes? 
the phantom of the oar that very spectre, 
on whose pallid forehead was wrapped a 
handkerchief spotted with crusted blood, 
whose appearance had been supposed to por 
tend the calamity which had now overtaken 
us. The likeness to young Connor was now 
more apparent than ever; and, indeed, ex 
tended even to the voice, with which the ap 
parition, as he leaped upon the forecastle, ex 
claimed, in tones that thrilled us all to the 
marrow c If you are not the wretchedest 
dastards that ever lay still to be murdered, 


up and shoot! up and shoot! while I cut 
the boat loose!' With which words, he 
snatched up from the forecastle, where it had 
been dropt by the dying Parker, an axe, with 
which he immediately attacked, and, with a 
blow, struck down the third savage; and then 
fell to work on the branch by which we were 
entangled, shouting to us, all the while, to 
4 fire upon the enemy,' whose bullets, aimed 
at himself, he seemed entirely to disregard, 
while escaping them by a miracle. 

" ' It is Tom Connor himself 7' cried I, 
fired by his extraordinary appearance into 
such spirit as I had never before felt ' give 
it to the dogs, and he will save us!' 

" I seized upon another gun, of which the 
dead and wounded had left enough lying 
about, already loaded; and backed by three 
other men, who now recovered their cou 
rage, let fly among a cluster of savages who 
were scrambling one over the other among 
the boughs of the tree. My supporters did 
the same; and our shots, each telling upon 
an enemy, produced, among other good ef 
fects, a diversion in favour of our auxiliary 
with the axe; who, still wielding his weapon, 
shouted to us to ' leave our guns and take to 
the oars' a command that was obeyed by 


myself and one other boatman, who followed 
me to the deck. 

" We had scarce touched the oars, before 
the broad-horn swung free, and floated ra 
pidly from the sycamore and from the bank. 

" ' Give way, and all are safe ! ' cried our 
preserver, dropping his axe, and springing to 
the steering-oar, with which he directed the 
boat into the centre of the river, calling all 
the time, though in vain, for others to come 
up and help at the oars. None were willing 
and, alas, as we soon discovered, few were 
able to help us; and the further labour, with 
the danger, of completing our escape, was 
left entirely to ourselves to three men, each 
of whom stood fully exposed to the shots of 
the enemy, of which many a one took effect 
on our bodies. It was not, indeed, until we 
had put nearly the whole width of the river 
between the broad-horn and her assailants, 
and when the danger was almost, if not en 
tirely over, that we received any assistance. 
Three men, of whom one was entirely unhurt, 
the others but slightly wounded, then crept 
up, and took our places at the oars, which 
we were scarce able longer to maintain. 
" I turned to Connor for Connor it was 


who, crying out, ' Well done, Michael Law! 
we've saved the boat, if we die for it ' fell 
flat upon his face on the deck, deprived of all 
sense, and, as I at first feared, of life. He 
was, indeed, desperately wounded in many 
places; having, besides the recent marks of 
combat, several wounds, one of which was 
on his head, that seemed to have been re 
ceived several days before. Upon taking him 
up, I discovered he was still breathing, though 
faintly; on which, with the assistance of my 
comrades, I carried him into the cabin, where 
lay, or rather sat the wounded Colonel; who, 
though aware of our escape from the Indians, 
was yet ignorant of the means by which our 
deliverance had been effected. 

" ; Bravo ! victory !' he cried, with exult 
ing voice, the moment he laid eyes on me ; 
* you've beaten the enemy, Mike Law, and 
I'll make your fortune ! But what poor devil's 
this you're lugging among us, where there's 
so many dead already?' 

"'This,' said I, 'Colonel' laying the young 
man at his feet ' is the true-blue that won 
us the victory no less a man than your 
turned-off friend, Tom Connor.' 

"' Tom Connor !' cried he, looking with 


amazement upon the youth's countenance, 
all pale and stained with blood; ' 'tis he, by 
heavens ! But how came he among us ?' 

" ' The Lord sent him,' said I and said it 
very seriously; ' for, sure, he came in no mor 
tal way whatever. All I know is, that he 
jumped right out of the river into the broad- 
horn, shot a savage as he jumped, picked up 
Sam Parker's axe, and killed another; and 
then cut us loose from the sycamore, and 
steered us into the channel.' 

" i What ! ' cried Colonel Storm; ' Tom 
Connor do this? Tom Connor, that was such 
a fiddling, dancing, book-reading, verse-writ 
ing, womanish good-for-naught? What! Tom 
Connor kill two Indians, when that cursed 
coward, Sharpe there, slunk away like a 
ducked kitten? Call my girl here ! He shall 
have her, and cut Sharpe's throat into the 
bargain. Throw the white-livered rascal over 

" I turned my looks upon the dishonoured 
soldier, who lay, as I had left him, still cow 
ering behind a box, with his eyes yet sending 
out a ghastly glare as before. Looking at 
him more intently, I perceived he was dead : 
indeed, he had received a bullet directly 
through the spine and heart, which had struck 


him while in the act of turning arid leaping 
from the deck. I informed the Colonel of 
this mischance; but he was now hugging and 
weeping over the wounded Connor, whom he 
swore he loved better than his own soul, and 
would never abuse again as long as he lived. 
" The veteran then, being reminded of his 
daughter, bade me look her out in her cabin; 
where, guided by the lamentations of her 
women, who burst into yells (for I believe 
they took me for an Indian,) as I entered, I 
found her lying in a swoon, into which she 
had fallen at the beginning of the action. 
Neither she nor her attendants had received 
any hurt, the little cabin being bullet-proof; 
and charging the latter to hold their peace, 
recover their mistress from her swoon, and 
then come to the assistance of the wounded 
men, I went again into the main cabin, and 
upon deck, to look upon the state of affairs, 
and examine into the extent of our losses. 
These were, indeed, dreadful. Of twenty 
men, nine were already dead, and all the 
others, one only excepted, severely wounded, 
four of them, as it was afterwards proved, 






" But enough of these melancholy details," 
continued the narrator, looking around him. 
" We are now upon the very scene of the 
calamity. Upon that bank, where now stands 
a flourishing town," (it was the town of Ports 
mouth,) " were hidden our murderous foes ; 
upon yonder point lay the sycamore, in 
whose boughs we were entangled ; and yon 
der, below, upon the Kentucky shore, is the 
cove into which we threw the bodies of nine 
men, our murdered companions. The recol 
lection is saddening; and it comes to me still 
more mournfully, surrounded by these hills, 
and those clumps of trees the remnants of 
the old forest which witnessed our disaster 
and sufferings. I will but mention a few 


other circumstances, and then have done with 
the relation. 

" The death of Captain Sharpe, who, what 
ever were his faults, was undoubtedly no cow 
ard, (indeed, I afterwards discovered he had 
distinguished himself in some of the closing 
scenes of the Revolution,) afforded the best 
explanation of the supposed panic which had 
kindled the indignation of our old commander; 
and Colonel Storm himself used afterwards 
to tell me, he was shocked to think the re 
proaches and revilings he had given way to, 
were poured into the ears of a corpse. But 
I am sorry to say, we found upon his body 
papers which fully established all the charges 
made against him by his runaway servant, 
and satisfied even Colonel Storm that, had 
he given him his daughter, he would have 
wedded her to dishonour and misery. 

" At the very moment when we were en 
gaged casting his body into the river, we 
came up with, and took possession of, a drift 
ing canoe; which threw, for the first time, a 
little light upon the riddle, hitherto inexplica 
ble, of the sudden appearance of Mr. Connor. 
It contained a blanket or two, a store of pro 
visions, ammunition, and other necessaries, 
including a deal of superfluous clothing, all 


marked with Connor's name. He had de 
scended the Ohio, then, in a canoe, and 

" As this suspicion entered my mind, I be 
thought me of the phantom boat, following 
us by night; and was frighted to remember 
that I had made one of the superstitious 
party who saluted the solitary voyager with 
their rifles. I remembered also the spectre 
at the oar; and easily conceived that in that 
spectre, falsely supposed to be directing the 
boat ashore, I had seen poor Connor, who, 
observing our deck deserted by the watch, 
and the boat drifting upon the point of land, 
had crept softly on board, and was urging her 
again into deep water, when my appearance 
drove him to flight. 

" These suspicions were all soon confirmed 
by Connor's own confessions, made when he 
recovered his senses, and found himself again 
restored to the veteran's favour. Though 
discarded, and with disgrace, at a moment of 
ill temper, which was perhaps increased by his 
own petulance, his heart was still with his 
benefactor, whom he resolved to follow to 
Kentucky; and finding no other means of de 
scending the river, without waiting for the 
rise of waters that was to waft away the fleet 
VOL. ii. 22 


of broad-horns, he formed the desperate de 
termination to follow us in a canoe, which 
he had procured for the purpose; and in 
which, with a single companion, who, how 
ever, alarmed at the perils to be encountered, 
deserted him at Wheeling, he commenced the 
voyage. From Wheeling, he had descended 
the river entirely alone. 

" He easily gained upon our boat, of which 
he often heard news, and all that he sought 
to know of his old patron, at our different 
stopping-places; but shame and other feelings, 
which a young, proud spirit may easily con 
ceive, prevented his joining us, or making 
himself known; though they did not prevent 
his hovering near us by night, until the unfor 
tunate volley we let fly at him, by which he 
had been actually wounded, taught him to 
preserve a more respectful distance. His 
fears and anxieties, however, on this night, 
(for lie had also been told, at Gallipolis, of 
the dangers of the Scioto,) caused him again 
to approach the broad-horn; when, perceiving 
that all hands were asleep, and the boat in 
danger of going ashore, he had stolen aboard, 
and had just succeeded in making her clear 
the point, when discovered by me. In the 
confusion that followed, he easily slipped 


back again into the canoe, and was hidden 
in the darkness of the night. From that 
moment, he had kept at a distance, until the 
sounds of conflict brought him to our side, to 
render us the service to which we owed our 

" Such was young Connor's story, with 
which I may well close my own. 

" A few hours after the battle we were 
joined by a fleet of boats, the same we had 
left at Pittsburg, which had passed the battle 
ground without loss, and now supplied us 
several fresh hands, with whose assistance 
we were able to keep them company, until 
the voyage was finished, early the next day, 
at Limestone, in Kentucky. 

" Colonel Storm and Connor both reco 
vered in a short time from their wounds; and 
so did I. And in two months after our ar 
rival in Kentucky, I had the satisfaction of 
dancing at the wedding of the fair Alicia and 
her preserver. 

" I may add, that to the friendship, or gra 
titude, of these three individuals, all of whom 
seemed to believe I had, in some way or 
other, done them good service, I owed a 
change in fortune and condition a com 
mencement of happiness and prosperity, which 



have, I thank Heaven, followed me with un 
varying and uninterrupted benignity up to the 
present moment. 

Thus ended the story of the Bloody Broad- 
horn. And here its chronicler takes his leave 
of the reader. 





AUG 2 1939 

LD21-20m-5,'39 (9269s)